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What closes in a government shutdown?

20 January 2018

Congress appears headed towards a government shutdown, a political crisis that would have a ripple effect on the economy and millions of federal workers. Similarly, employees at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park said park rangers had not been given guidance as of Friday morning.

The shutdown could still be avoided.

The Senate is under pressure to pass a stopgap budget bill before midnight on Friday. In other words, you may see a whole bunch of very smart people wandering around unsure of what to do with themselves since they won't be allowed to work on the great questions like going back to the moon and how we can actually get to Mars.

But the government shutdown due to lack of funding - which would be the second in five years - does not mean every office closes its doors. The Pay Our Military Act would ensure that even in the event of a government shutdown military personnel receive regular paychecks and related benefits.

In addition, an $81 billion disaster relief measure passed in the House has yet to make it to the Senate. Republicans led by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, intent on slashing the budget, forced a three-week shutdown in a bid to coerce President Bill Clinton to sign onto a balanced budget agreement. They will continue working through the shutdown. If there is a shutdown, it will be the first time there's a federal government shutdown when one party has control of Congress and the White House.

Did the entire government shutdown? Representatives for the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Human Services - two of the largest recipients of federal money - said their agencies have enough funding to largely continue with business as usual for several weeks.

What parts of the government stopped functioning?

There are 360,000 federal workers in the DMV region, according to the Federal Reserve.

"We fully expect the government to remain open, however in the event of a shutdown, National Parks and other public lands will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures".

The non-essential services that could be disrupted include the processing of passports and paperwork through the IRS, VA, or Federal Housing Administration. More than 850,000 would be furloughed, including 562,639 in the Department of Defense, 73,262 in the Treasury Department, 66,556 in the Department of Agriculture, 45,776 in the Department of the Interior, 41,669 in Commerce, and 41,074 in Health and Human Services. And numerous other services across federal agencies were delayed, because hundreds of thousands of workers were furloughed. But more specific decisions, including which and how many civilians to furlough, will be left up to each branch. More than half of the state's 20,000 federal workers are with the United States Postal Service, which is self-funded.

How much did this cost the economy? According to an estimate by the Council of Economic Advisers, up to 120,000 new private sector jobs were lost as well. As it is, the Senate needs a veto-proof total of 60 votes to approve the budget bill the House approved on Thursday and Senate Democrats are unified in their opposition to passing a budget bill.

If the government shuts down, which happened most recently in 2013, most federal operations come to a halt because the government loses its authority to spend money.

Republicans will blame Democrats.

What closes in a government shutdown?