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What happens during a government shutdown? 5 things to know as GOP scrambles for votes

What happens during a government shutdown? 5 things to know as GOP scrambles for votes
[Photo: James Padolsey /Unsplash]

As you’ve probably heard, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are working to secure votes to pass a short-term funding bill by the Friday deadline. If they fail, the government will shut down. We’ve been down this road many times before. In fact, the government has shut down almost 20 times since 1976–including a memorable 16-day standoff in 2013 over an attempted Obamacare repeal–but what exactly does it mean for the government to shut down?

Here are five things that would basically happen:

  • Furloughs: In the event of a shutdown, “nonessential” government workers stop working until a funding bill can be passed. Typically, those workers are paid retroactively after things get up and running again, per CNN.
  • Essential services: Things like Medicare, air traffic control, healthcare for veterans, Social Security, and lots of other essential services would continue functioning, per the AP.
  • The post office and military: Postal workers and uniformed service men and women are exempt from the shutdown and would continue working.
  • Monuments and museums: Federal museums, national monuments, and national parks would close until a budget can be passed.
  • Passports: Per USA Today, passports could be held up if a bill doesn’t pass, as the State Department relies partly on fees. You’re advised to put in your request now if you need a new passport so you can flee the country. And without a functioning government, who could really blame you?

The deadline for the short-term spending bill is midnight on Friday. Good luck, America.

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