Update: The government shutdown by the numbers

Here’s what will happen if the government shuts down at midnight.

Update: The government shutdown by the numbers
[Photo: skeeze/Pixabay]

Update Saturday, 10 a.m.:


Lawmakers failed to reach a deal by the midnight deadline, and funding for about a quarter of the government has now expired.

Original story:

The United Sates government has yet to agree on a spending bill–and if one isn’t signed by midnight tonight, a partial government shutdown will almost certainly happen. The House of Representatives did cobble together a bill that would keep things afloat until February 8, but it also included $5.7 billion for President Trump’s border wall, which is something he demanded. This will almost certainly not pass in the Senate.

Trump this morning threatened a shutdown on Twitter if the Democrats don’t agree to his demands. He wrote, “If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time.”

So what exactly will happen if the government does shut down? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Federal agencies affected: About 75% of the government’s funding has already been approved. The other 25%, however, includes some very important agencies, including: Homeland Security, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Transportation.
  • Working without pay: Among those agencies, reports NPR, about 420,000 employees are expected to continue working. This means their job duties are considered essential, yet they will not receive a paycheck until a new budget is approved.
  • Federal employees affected: According to a Senate fact sheet, the numbers of unpaid individuals still expected to work would include:
    • 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officials
    • 53,000 TSA employees
    • 42,000 Coast Guard employees
    • 54,000 Customs and Border Protection workers
  • Furloughs: Meanwhile, more than 380,000 government employees could be placed on furlough–meaning they would be forced to stop working and receive no pay. Those in this camp would include:
    • 16,700 workers at NASA
    • 41,000 Department of Commerce employees
    • 16,000 people at the National Park Service
    • 28,800 staff members of the Forest Service
    • 18,300 employees of the Department of Transportation
    • 7,100 people who work at HUD
    • 52,000 IRS employees

While President Trump continues this pissing contest, trying to force the government to fund this partisan project, hundreds of thousands of employees’ paychecks rest in the balance. All this, mind you, is happening mere days before Christmas and the New Year.


The government has until midnight to vote on a new spending plan. Trump’s tweets indicate he may not back down, so we’ll have to wait and see whether he cares more about a wall or the livelihoods of Americans.

You can find more information on the Senate’s shutdown fact sheet.

About the author

Cale is a Brooklyn-based reporter. He writes about many things.