Sen. Smith meets with University of Minnesota researchers impacted by government shutdown

With the government shutdown now into its 32nd day, the impact is being felt at airports and as well as at state universities.

On Tuesday, leaders at the University of Minnesota discussed the fallout with Senator Tina Smith, including how it is hurting research at the Big Ten school.

“I submitted a supplemental request, but unfortunately the shutdown started before the [National Science Foundation] could process it, so the request is now in limbo,” said one professor.

Researchers at the U of M and at satellite campuses are worried about federal funding for an array of projects and programs.

“It could end tomorrow by senators doing their job and taking up bills that are there with bipartisan support and pass these bills,” said Sen. Smith.

Meanwhile in Washington D.C., Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell announced he will push for a president-backed proposal, which would provide $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and some deportation protections for immigrants and supplemental disaster funds for regions hit by hurricanes and wildfires, in exchange for reopening the federal government. 

“All that needs to happen is for our Democratic friends that it’s time to put country ahead of politics and vote to put the standoff behind us,” said Sen. McConnell.

With Democrats opposed to the package, the prospects look bleak. Some 800,000 federal workers are impacted by this shutdown. One frustrated TSA worker at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport spoke out as he expects to miss a second paycheck later this week.

“Every day we are asked to look in bags for explosives, look for weapons,” said Neal Gosman, a TSA worker. “We do this unpaid when we’ve been coming in."

In addition to the GOP plan that the president has proposed, the Democrats have their own that includes temporarily opening the government, leaving border security for a separate debate.