• Government shutdown: What will close; will you get your Social Security check, SNAP, WIC?

    By: Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    The fight over funding of a border wall forced a partial U.S. government shutdown after midnight on Friday.

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    What would happen if no bill is passed and there is a partial government shutdown? Here’s what to expect:


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    First, a government shutdown doesn’t mean the government completely shuts down. Employees and services deemed “essential” would remain in place. About half of the federal employee workforce, however, could be furloughed – sent home without pay.

    Government agencies would shut down because of the lack of a bill that funds services those agencies provide. What Congress will be considering Thursday night and Friday is a continuing resolution, a way to temporarily fund the government.

    What is a continuing resolution?
    A continuing resolution, or “CR,” is legislation that funds government operations at the current spending level. In normal years, a bill that funds government operations is signed by Oct. 1, which is the end of the fiscal year. That didn’t happen this year.

    CRs can fund the government for days, weeks or months. The CR that could be considered Thursday would fund the government through Feb. 16.

    Here is a list of services and how they would be affected if a CR is not passed by Friday night:

    Air travel
    Air travel would not be affected as federal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and Transportation Security Administration screeners would remain in place.

    Federal court
    For about two weeks, federal courts would continue operating normally. After that time, the judiciary would have to furlough employees not considered essential.

    Food safety
    The Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls. Most routine safety inspections would be halted.

    Health
    Patients in the National Institutes of Health would continue to be treated. New patients would not be accepted until a funding bill is in place.

    International travel 
    You could still get a passport and visa applications would still be processed by the State Department. Fees collected when someone applies for a visa or a passport fund those services.

    Loans 
    The Federal Housing Administration, the agency that guarantees about 30 percent of all American home mortgages, wouldn't be able to underwrite or approve any new loans during a shutdown, causing a delay for those using one of those loans to purchase a home. 

    The mail
    You would still get mail, as the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars for everyday operations.

    Military
    Active-duty military personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed.

    National parks
    All national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums. Visitors in overnight campgrounds in national parks would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.

    School lunches, SNAP and WIC
    School breakfasts and lunches funded by the federal government would not be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, could be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which used to be called the Food Stamp Program, would continue to be funded and SNAP benefits would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.

    Science
    The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather.

    Social Security
    Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would be paid, but new applications for those payments could be delayed. 

    Veterans services
    Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs would continue.
     

    Sources: The Associated Press; Politicothe Congressional Research Service

    In Central Florida, the shutdown could impact NASA, although Kennedy Space Center said it is planning to be open Saturday no matter what. The SpaceX launch scheduled for Saturday morning from the Space Coast Saturday morning will not be affected because it through the Department of Defense, which is not impacted by the partial shutdown.

     

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