What does a government shutdown mean to you?
If Congress cannot agree on how to fund certain federal government programs by midnight September 30, the government will be forced to shut down. How will Americans be directly affected by the government closure?
Well, it could look quite like what happened in 1995 and 1996 when the federal government was last forced to shut-down. The following areas were affected during the last federal government closure:
Law Enforcement Services – The US government ceased work on some child-support and about 3500 bankruptcy cases. Additionally the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms did not process firearms and alcohol applications.
Health Related Services – The Centers for Disease Control stopped keeping track of diseases. Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health no longer answered calls regarding medical inquiries and stopped the practice of accepting new patients for medical research.
Museums and Park Services – All national parks were closed and approximately 7 million park visitors were unable to visit these parks. In one exception the Grand Canyon’s remained open as the state of Arizona agreed to pay the park’s expenses.
Regulatory Agency Services – Financial regulators that include the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission will most likely shut down. In addition, most of the Environmental Protection Agency will be shut down as well.
Parts of Veteran and Social Security Services – While veterans’ hospitals will remain open and security checks will continue to be processed, other areas could be affected. For example, in the last government shutdown, farm payments and loans ceased, new home loan guarantees ended, and money that helped stated pay for unemployment benefits stopped. With respect to social security, social security customer service decreased; for example, phone calls went unanswered during this time period.
Passport and Visa Services – Visas and passports will not be issued during a government shutdown. During the last government closure thousands of visa application from both Americans and non-Americans went unprocessed each day.