The federal government is hours away from a shut down as President Donald Trump and Congress struggle to reach a compromise on a spending bill.
A government shutdown is nothing new– the U.S. has hung a “closed” sign 18 times since 1976. However, this would be the first real shutdown to happen while a single party controls the House, Senate and White House.
The most recent shutdown occurred in 2013 under the Obama administration after Congress could not reach a mutual agreement concerning the budget for the new fiscal year.
So what happens during a shutdown?
If Washington goes dark, more than 800,000 government employees will be furloughed, or sent home without pay. This doesn’t apply to workers who are considered “essential staff.” The exceptions would include Capital police officers, most of the FBI, border patrol officers and federal emergency workers.
Airports will proceed to stay open, but it is possible that delays may increase.
The mail should keep coming too.
If the national parks close anyone visiting during the shutdown will be kicked out. The same rules apply with national museums, zoos and monuments.
While these aspects would hit our lives almost instantly, others, like Passport Services, would take some time to set in.
While travelers might be issued a passport in the beginning days of the shutdown, that may not be the case further down the road. It all depends on how long the government is closed.
If the government stays closed, students who are provided with free or reduced lunch would lose their meals after a month or so.
Trump tweeted the US military will be the “biggest losers” in the face of a shutdown.
The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. The biggest loser will be our rapidly rebuilding Military, at a time we need it more than ever. We need a merit based system of immigration, and we need it now! No more dangerous Lottery.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2018
This is not entirely true. The military paychecks go out on the 1st and 15th of every month, so unless the government stays under lockdown for more than a month, the military won’t experience any harsh repercussions.
If the government does end up shutting down (which we will know by midnight on Jan. 19), social security checks will continue to be sent to the elderly. Our military will function as usual, and the president and the senators will continue to get paid.