“I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.” Ozzy Osbourne
Will lawmakers find a way to keep the federal government from shutting down tonight? It doesn’t look promising.
The country’s current spending bill is scheduled to expire at 12:00 am on Tuesday, October 1, which means a government shutdown if Congressional Republicans and Democrats can’t reach a compromise over the next few hours. Here’s what to expect when it happens:
- Passports and visas will only be processed in “life or death” situations.
- All national parks will close (campers currently in parks will be given two days to leave).
- Border controls to come into the US will take significantly longer.
- Social security checks will be sent out.
- Mortgage approvals will be delayed.
- Implementation of the Affordable Care Act will continue as planned.
- Some ports into the US will close.
- E-Verify, the Dept of Homeland Security’s online employment eligibility verification database, will cease operations.
- Medicare and Medicaid payments will continue (though likely at a slower pace).
- FTC approval of merger requests will slow.
- The SEC will be open and operational.
- The US Patent and Trade Office will remain open for business.
- Most NASA employees will be sent home (but not the six crewmembers on the International Space Station).
- The Farm Service Agency will stop processing loan applications.
- The Small Business Administration will shut down nearly all of its loan programs.
- President Obama will keep working (and will keep drawing his salary).
- The US Postal Service will continue to deliver mail.
- Most food safety inspections will continue.
- The government will continue to pay unemployment benefits.
- Federal courts will stay open (for about ten days, anyway).
- As many as 1 million federal employees could be furloughed.
- The EPA will effectively shut down.
- The Supreme Court will probably stay open (but they’re not saying).
- Active-duty troops will keep working, and should receive paychecks through the middle of October.
- Air traffic controllers – and the country’s air travel industry – will not be affected.
- The IRS will continue to collect taxes but all audits will be suspended.
- House and Senate lawmakers will continue to draw paychecks.
- Furloughed government employees will not (although they may be granted back pay after the shutdown has ended).
- The Bureau of Prisons will stay open, and convicted criminals won’t be released.
- Mandatory government payments such as Social Security and veterans’ benefits will be paid.
- The Department of Health and Human Services will linger in a state between full functioning and total shutdown.
- The FBI, DEA, and BATFE won’t be affected.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks.
- The Library of Congress will close.
- Federal occupational safety and health inspectors will stop workplace inspections (except in cases of imminent danger).
- TSA will continue to protect the nation’s airports and planes.
- And last but not least: Taxpayers will get a very big bill.
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