America faces a Government shutdown AGAIN this Friday – here’s what it means for YOU


America is once again facing the prospect of Government shutdown little over a month after the nation narrowly avoided the last.

House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson was today struggling to get hardline Republicans to back his short-term funding plan, with at least seven signaling their opposition. Johnson can afford to lose no more than four Republican votes on legislation opposed by Democrats.

Lawmakers are once again in disagreement over America’s spending levels – a fight that has become so bitter it forced former Speaker Kevin McCarthy out of his job last month. Political tensions over the nation’s $33 trillion debt contributed to Moody’s slashing the US’ financial outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ last week.

At the weekend Johnson unveiled his ‘two-part’ continuing resolution which would keep federal agencies operating at their current funding level until the end of the year. And politicians now have until Friday to decide whether to back him or let a shutdown go ahead. 

But what does it mean in real terms? DailyMail.com explains what could happen.  

America is once again facing the prospect of Government shutdown little over a month after the nation narrowly avoided the last

America is once again facing the prospect of Government shutdown little over a month after the nation narrowly avoided the last

Social security

Social security payments would continue unaffected during a government shutdown, according to experts, but contacting the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the case of problems may be more difficult.

If lawmakers do not find a solution by November 17 and a shutdown does occur, the 66 million recipients of social security will still receive their complete federal monthly checks – which averages at $1,827 for retirees.

This is because Social Security is funded through permanent, rather than annual, federal appropriations.

However, the administration’s plan also noted that around 14 percent of its nearly 62,000 person workforce would be furloughed in the event of a shutdown.

The Social Security Administration's plan also noted that around 14 percent of its nearly 62,000 person workforce would be furloughed

The Social Security Administration’s plan also noted that around 14 percent of its nearly 62,000 person workforce would be furloughed 

Veteran’s benefits

As the last shutdown loomed, Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, noted that VA medical care and disability compensation, among other benefits, would continue in the case of a shutdown.

He too said during a press conference that some workers would be furloughed and some offices would be shuttered as a result.

Travel 

Thankfully for travelers, most government employees involved in air travel will be retained on the grounds that they are considered ‘necessary to protect life and property’.

The vast majority of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents, considered essential workers, will be expected to work without pay. But if that that drags on, there may be fewer of them working and longer lines to contend with at security.

Similarly, air traffic controllers and border officials will be required to work without paychecks until the shutdown ends.

Americans that need to renew their passports or attend scheduled visa services should be able to do so since passport processing, overseen by the State Department, is due to continue both at home and abroad.

According to a separate contingency plan filed by the State Department in August: ‘Consular operations domestically and abroad will remain 100 percent operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations.’

A contingency plan issued by the Department of Transportation notes that more than 25,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel will be retained in the event of a shutdown because they are deemed ‘necessary to protect life and property.’ 

More than 95 percent of TSA agents - about 58,000 - will be retained without pay. Pictured is a TSA agent in Miami, Florida

More than 95 percent of TSA agents – about 58,000 – will be retained without pay. Pictured is a TSA agent in Miami, Florida

National parks 

Most national parks will close in the case of a shutdown.

‘In the event of a lapse in annual government appropriations, National Park Service (NPS) sites will be closed,’ the Interior Department said last month.

‘This means that the majority of national parks will be closed completely to public access,’ it went on.

All Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, would close during a shutdown.

This time the effects would be even more catastrophic as it would come over the Thanksgiving and winter holidays – one of the busiest times of the year for parks. 

Arizona and Utah will keep their national parks open if a shutdown threatens access to the Grand Canyon and Utah's Zion Valley

Arizona and Utah will keep their national parks open if a shutdown threatens access to the Grand Canyon and Utah’s Zion Valley

Federal Courts

Federal courts could operate for three weeks without congressional funding, relying on fees and other funds, but eventually would have to scale back activity. The Supreme Court would stay open as well.

Criminal prosecutions, including the two federal cases against former President Donald Trump, would continue. Most civil litigation would be postponed. The government’s landmark Google antitrust lawsuit would continue.

Education 

Pell Grants and student loans would continue to be paid, but could be disrupted as most Education Department employees would be furloughed.

A protracted shutdown could ‘severely curtail’ aid to schools, universities and other educational institutions, the department says. It also could delay funds that are due to be awarded later in the year.

Earlier this year, the White House also warned a shutdown could cause 10,000 children to lose access to Head Start programs across the country as the Department of Health and Human Services does not award grants during a shutdown.

When was the last shutdown and how long did it last?

The last shutdown lasted 34 days and stretched from December 2018 to January 2019 – the longest in history.

At that time, congressional funding for nine departments with around 800,000 employees ran dry. The five-week partial shutdown cost the economy around $11 billion, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). All but around $3 billion of that was recovered once the shutdown ended.

It also forced TSA officers to call out of work while trying to find other ways of making money. 

Before that, the record was 21 days during a 1995-1996 shutdown when President Bill Clinton refused to accept the steep spending cuts and tax reductions put forth by Speaker Newt Gingrich. 

In 2013, there was another 16-day shutdown when Republicans tried to defund the Affordable Care Act.

How many shutdowns has the US gone through?

Since 1976 there have been 20 gaps in funding lasting at least a day, according to the Congressional Research Service. 

Before that, the government usually operated like normal even when spending bills weren’t passed. Two opinions from Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti in 1980 said it was illegal for the government to spend money without congressional approval.



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