Golfers Play On, But Grocery Stores Close On Military Base As Shutdown Hits Agencies In Wildly Different Ways

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While grocery stores at Andrews Air Force Base and most other military installations remain closed today due to the U.S. government shutdown, the golf course at Andrews is open for business.

Tee times at golf courses inside national parks, on the other hand, have all been cancelled.

"This is horrible, this kills our business," said a rep from Historic National Park Golf Courses of Washington, D.C. which runs three national park golf courses in the D.C. area. “"We have gorgeous weather and thousands of government employees at home who would love to be out golfing. If this goes on for much longer, it's going to be a major hit to our company."

Which government functions continue to operate and which are closed may seem random, but in reality some departments are financed completely or in part by fees where others rely entirely on congressional funding, which has been cut off.

For example, the Food and Drug Administration is up and running, continuing to review new products for approval because it collects fees from drug-makers. But the National Institute of Health which needs federal money to carry out its research must turn away patients lining up for clinical trials of potential life-saving medication.

“What’s really happening in America is that the appropriations process has completely failed,” said Elaine Kamarck, of the Brookings Institution, a leading Washington policy think-tank.

Military bases remain operational, but their on-site grocery stores which offer significant discounts to service members, have been shut down. That means soldiers can expect a hike of about 30 percent in the cost of feeding their families.

But the gold course at Andrews Air Force Base is funded by user fees and therefore, the links remain open.

There are about 800,000 federal employees out of work during the shutdown, but the percentages vary wildly among agencies. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has 38 percent of its workers still on the job, while the Veterans Affairs Department has 96 percent continuing work through the crisis.

SOURCES: Bloomberg News, Golf.com