With the 2013 shutdown of the United States government people are asking a lot of questions. How will the shutdown affect you? Find out right now. Here are 25 things you should know about the government shutdown.
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Every government needs money to run
Sounds obvious right? Well that’s our starting point. And if congress can’t figure out how to fund all of it, then the underfunded parts shutdown.
Congress couldn't agree on healthcare
Another obvious point. Anybody watching the news knows that Democrats and Republicans don’t exactly see eye to eye.
So everybody goes home
Not exactly. The government is divided into “essential” and “non-essential” employees.
Managers have to decide who stays and who doesn't
Basically they’re the ones that say which employees are “essential” and which ones aren’t.
Which parts of government stay open?
Anything related to national security, public safety, or programs written into permanent law (like social security) continue operating. Now let’s get specific…
This is a gimme. The military and all US embassies are unaffected.
Air traffic control, emergency medical care, border patrol, law enforcement, and power grid oversight all remain.
Anything that is written into permanent law must continue being funded. Social security is the biggest. Food stamps and unemployment will be funded for the time being.
Any agency with independent funding remains open. This includes the post office and the federal reserve.
This is the one that might upset some of you, but yes, you guessed it…congress keeps collecting their paycheck even when they’re not around.
Unfortunately the little guys aren’t as lucky. Their paychecks aren’t written into “permanent law”.
Do essential employees get paid?
Most likely no. If they stay on, however, they should be paid retroactively when congress decides to restart funding.
What about the soldiers?
The 1.4 million active duty soldiers get paid no matter what. The house and senate specifically passed a bill to guarantee their paychecks and Obama signed it into law on Monday night (right before the shutdown).
So what actually shuts down?
Basically everything else. The list is pretty long but we’ll go over the most obvious ones.
The national Institutes of health will no longer accept new patients and shutdown their phone hotline. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will stop its seasonal flu program.
The nation’s 3,300 public housing authorities will stop receiving payments although they have enough reserved to last until the end of October.
Although the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency will continue to operate, the Justice Department will put many civil cases on hold.
Parks and Museums
More than 400 national parks and museums will remain closed including Yosemite and the Statue of Liberty.
What about Washington DC?
In theory the District of Columbia is supposed to shutdown all but the most essential services. In 1995 ony fire, police, and EMS units were on duty. Even trash collecting stopped.
How many government employees will be affected?
Roughly 800 thousand workers have been sent home. Remaining are 1.3 million “essential” employees, 1.4 million soldiers, and half a million postal service members.
Will the nonessential employees get paid?
That’s a good question. On the first day of the shutdown these employees had to come in to work to make sure everything was closed down. Whether congress decides to retroactively pay them later on is up in the air.
Is the government even ready?
There’s no way to really tell. Most of the departments have contingency plans but that’s only good on paper.
Which part of the economy will be most affected?
Tourism, federal contractors, energy; and pharma and biotech will most likely be hit the hardest.
Has this happened before?
Yes, a lot actually. Since 1976 there have been 17 government shutdowns although the longest was only a few weeks.
How does it end?
The opposite of the way it started. Congress has to agree to pass a bill to fund the government. Or they can just sit at home and collect paychecks. It basically boils down to political pressure.