John and Liz Ellis had a plan mapped out and ready on their first trip to Austin from the Dallas area.
“For as long as we’ve lived in Texas, we haven’t been here,” Liz Ellis said.
One of the stops they made was the LBJ Presidential Library & Museum. However, like the rest of the visitors stopping by the library Monday morning, they couldn’t get in due to the government shutdown. It’s usually open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“It’s somewhat incredulous,” Liz Ellis said. “My first reaction, ‘who would’ve thought this would affect us?” because I mean, you hear about this in the news but you think, ‘it’s not going to affect us.'”
Bob Cagle and his wife were also in town visiting from North Carolina. They knew when they got off their tour bus that they wouldn’t be able to get into the library. But Cagle had to let break the news to everyone else on the tour bus.
“The folks from the bus company said, ‘be back around’ and that if you show your armband you get a dollar off and I made the comment and said, ‘no, not today,'” Cagle said.
Cagle, a former federal government employee, said being unable to go to the library was only a minor inconvenience to the uncertainty current workers are having to deal with. “In 1976, the government changed its fiscal year to end on Sept. 30 as opposed to June 30 and the comment was made that we’re doing this so Congress will have a little longer to pass the budget,” Cagle said.
Cagle said what people were dealing with on Monday shows how ineffective lawmakers have been and connected the ongoing developments to the statue in the front of the library titled “The Art of Persuasion.” “It seems to me, just the common guy, that [lawmakers] have lost the art of persuasion,” he said.
Lawmakers in the House voted to end the shutdown late Monday afternoon, funding the government through Feb. 8, according to NBC News.
A spokesperson for the library said updates on when the library will reopen will be posted on the website.