Closing of the E-Verify system that checks information provided by employees against millions of government records was one result as the government went into its first shutdown in 17 years.
Todd Shields and Jim Efstathiou Jr.
The Internet-based system that employers use to check whether job applicants may legally work went dark as U.S. agencies limited or cut off electronic communications businesses use in everyday tasks.
Websites that shut down included the E-Verify site run by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the agency sites of the Census Bureau, Agriculture Department, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Library of Congress and the federal and international trade commissions.
"Business people are making decisions," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose department will stop issuing crop reports and processing loans for small rural businesses.
"They have to make decisions today, and the reality is that they are faced with this enormous uncertainty. The fact is, when you’re faced with uncertainty, you pull back. You don’t make decisions you might otherwise make. You don’t expand, you don’t invest."
Closing of the E-Verify system that checks information provided by employees against millions of government records was one result as the government went into its first shutdown in 17 years. Effects rippled through a workforce of 800,000 employees headed for idleness, and spread on to the companies and citizens the workers serve.
Mortgage lenders processing loans that need tax transcripts, Social Security number verification, or approval from the Federal Housing Administration should anticipate delays, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a note to its members.
A shutdown of a few days would "slightly inconvenience" members; a longer delay could have "serious impacts" and possibly impede the recovery of the housing market, the Washington-based trade group for the real-estate finance industry said.
The Federal Communications Commission said it would suspend consideration of deals involving purchases of airwaves licenses and television stations -- transactions affecting AT&T Inc., Gannett Co. Inc., Tribune Co. and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.
Work on federal construction projects will slow because contractors can’t reach government employees with questions or get changes to work orders approved, according to officials with Associated General Contractors of America, a Washington-based trade group.