Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

'It's a Crisis Alright': Report Details Serious Public Health and Safety Risks of Trump Shutdown

"Corporate lawbreakers are going unpunished, safety inspections are being postponed, discrimination charges are going uninvestigated, polluters are not being held in check, financial fraudsters are not being policed."

Jake Johnson

"As long as the shutdown continues, essential consumer, worker, health, and safety protections carried out by these agencies are on hold," Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said in a statement. (Photo: EPA)

In addition to pushing thousands of low-wage workers to the brink of financial collapse and imperiling life-saving public programs like food stamps and Medicare, a Public Citizen report released on Wednesday found that the government shutdown over President Donald Trump's demand for border wall funding is also placing crucial consumer, health, and safety protections at serious risk.

"The shutdown is already impeding vital consumer and worker protection priorities. If the shutdown is allowed to persist, the cessation of these essential consumer and worker protections threatens significant public harms."
—Rick Claypool, Public Citizen

"Corporate lawbreakers are going unpunished, safety inspections are being postponed, discrimination charges are going uninvestigated, polluters are not being held in check, financial fraudsters are not being policed, consumer complaints are not being received, and accident investigations have ceased," Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said in a statement.

Authored by Rick Claypool, a research director at Public Citizen, the new report examines how nearly a dozen federal agencies have been impacted by the Trump shutdown, which has furloughed hundreds of thousands of government employees.

According to Public Citizen's analysis, under-discussed but extremely important federal agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Securities and Exchange Commission are currently operating without over 90 percent of their staff due to the shutdown, which is just days away from becoming the longest in U.S. history.

"The shutdown is already impeding vital consumer and worker protection priorities. If the shutdown is allowed to persist, the cessation of these essential consumer and worker protections threatens significant public harms, as corporate violators go unpunished and food and product safety inspections are delayed and decreased," Claypool writes. "The importance of these functions makes even slight capacity reductions a serious cause for concern."

"It's a crisis alright," Claypool added on Twitter. "This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I'm sure more ugly details will emerge if the Trump shutdown continues. And the longer it continues, the worse this crisis for consumer and worker safety will get."

Public Citizen's report includes a chart showing how eleven federal agencies have been impacted by the shutdown:

"As long as the shutdown continues, essential consumer, worker, health, and safety protections carried out by these agencies are on hold," Weissman said.

Public Citizen's report cites the severe staff shortage at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as just one of many examples of how prolonged government shutdowns can have devastating impacts on public safety.

"Forty percent of FAA staff are furloughed during the government shutdown—notably staff responsible for facility security inspections and law enforcement assistance support," Claypool notes.

The report goes on to quote Doug Lowe, president of the Florida chapter of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), who warned on Tuesday: "The longer it goes without that oversight, the more dangerous the aviation system becomes."

"A week from now," Lowe concluded, "I would tell you, 'Yes, I would not get on an aircraft.'"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo