The clock’s ticking. If Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill by the end of this week, the federal government will run out of money and shut down.
Shutdowns don’t come cheap. Federal agencies have to use up time, energy and resources to plan for one. Shutting down and then reopening the government also costs money.
But what will the shutdown mean for you? Will your daily life be affected?
(The answer’s yes, so keep reading.)
Here are 10 ways the government shutdown will affect you.
10. Vacation all I ever wanted: Need to get away? Well, you can’t. At least not to national parks. Or to national zoos. Or to national museums. They’ll be closed. That’s 368 National Park Service sites closed, millions of visitors turned away.
Were you thinking more along the lines of a trip to France? If you don’t already have a passport, you might have to bid that adieu – you might not get your blue book in time. The last time the government threw a hissy fit, 200,000 applications for passports went unprocessed. Tourism and airline revenues reeled.
But according to the State Department’s current shutdown plan, offices will remain open because they generate enough in fees to support their operation. Any offices located in a federal building affected by the shutdown, however, may not be able to open.
9. Holiday. Celebrate: Don’t go to work if you’re a federal employee. You’re on furlough. (Offer not valid for workers in “critical services,” such as air traffic controllers, hazardous waste handlers and food inspectors.)
Do take some time to celebrate. In previous shutdowns, everyone who stayed home was paid retroactively after peace returned to Washington.
8. I won’t back down: The men and women in uniform will stay on the job and be paid, according to legislation approved by Congress in the run-up to the shutdown.
Scenarios of the shutdown
7. If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street: You may be thinking, “No functioning government, no need to pay taxes.” Think again. The Man would continue to collect taxes. U.S. bonds would still be issued. And other essential banking functions will go on.
6. Wait a minute, Mr. Postman: You know that whole “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night” thing? Apparently, the U.S. Postal Service works through shutdowns as well. Sorry, you won’t catch a break from the junk mail. But hey, you may already be a winner!
4. Pass the ammunition: Not so fast. A shutdown would affect the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Translation: That gun permit you wanted processed won’t happen anytime soon if this goes on for a while.
3. Money (that’s what I want): Well, if you own a small business and needed a loan from the government, you’ll have to wait, depending on how long this lasts. If you were planning to buy a house and needed a federal loan, you’ll have to wait. If you’re a veteran, you might have to make a few trips to the mailbox before that check arrives.
If you’re on Social Security, however, don’t worry. Social Security payments were sent during the last shutdown.