Also: How landlords push Section 8 renters to poorer neighborhoods, and Kate McKinnon’s cameo in the war on cars.
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What We’re Following
Shutdown town: If the standoff between the President and Congress lasts until Saturday, it will become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, according to the New York Times’ shutdown calendar. Concerned that there’s no end in sight, local leaders are speaking out about the compounding effects of a prolonged shutdown. “Each day the shutdown continues, our residents suffer as it becomes harder to rebuild our infrastructure, assist low-income households and invest in community development,” National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony said Wednesday in a statement.
Highway and transit projects across the country are stagnating, especially in states that rely more heavily on federal funds, according to the Washington Post. An extended shutdown could burn through the timeframe that many states set aside in the winter to receive bids from contractors before the weather allows construction to pick up in the spring. And the National Low Income Housing Coalition has mapped all the HUD contracts for affordable housing that have expired, or will expire soon:
Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that the federal workforce isn’t only based in Washington. With thousands of agency workers scattered across the country—from the IRS and U.S. Forest Service in Salt Lake City, Utah; to NASA in Huntsville, Alabama; to the FBI in Clarksville, West Virginia—smaller cities and towns are bracing for the impact of missed paychecks on their local economies (WaPo).
And then there’s D.C.: Given its unique status as the seat of the federal government, the District of Columbia has faced some more unusual challenges in the shutdown. Yesterday, the D.C. council passed emergency legislation that allows marriages to continue at the federally funded D.C. Superior Court (WaPo). Meanwhile, the District’s water utility had to consider an odd question: Can it shut off service to the White House over unpaid bills? (DCist)
More on CityLab
What We’re Reading
How cities make money by fining the poor (New York Times Magazine)
Here’s what happened at the Texas border during Trump’s speech (USA Today)
Finding a bigger life in a smaller city (Curbed)
How Birmingham, Alabama, is making tech work for people (Next City)
Self-driving car companies at CES say: safety first (Washington Post)