Ah, the joys of the drama in Washington. If you’ve been following the news at all, you’ve probably heard by now that the Government has shut down due to Congress being unable to pass an appropriations bill. While I certainly don’t know everything there is to know about a shut down, I’d like to share with you some simple things about what the shut down entails and why it happens.
It is decreed by law and the constitution that Congress has the power to levy taxes and expenditures in America. These are controlled through appropriations bills. Last time I checked, there were twelve. If Congress does not pass these bills every time they need renewed, two things happen. One, the government shuts down. Or Two, they pass a continuing resolution, which is a cop out because neither side can agree on a budget.
Who Gets Paid?
Unfortunately, the Civilians working for the government are hit the hardest in a situation like this. There are approximately 1.3 million of them, and all their paychecks will be delayed until the government reopens. The active military and such though, will keep getting paid no matter what, due to a bill being passed enabling this.
What Stays Open?
Since last night, the Congress was unable to pass a budget OR continuing resolution, the government has shut down. While it sounds terrible scary, it is not as bad as all the major media outlets make it to be. Several governmental entities will still function and exist. Why? Because they are deemed a necessary program in America. In fact, about 62% of the government is still functioning. I’ll list below Some of the various programs which remain open due to necessity and still get paid, as it is written into permanent Law.
- Military involved in crucial National Security
- Ambassadors and embassies
- Border Patrol, Law enforcement, Prisons, and the like.
- Social Security
- Unemployment Benefits
- Food Stamps
- FBI, CIA, NSA, etc
- Members of Congress
- The United States Postal Service
What Closes Down?
Pretty much everything else not necessary to the functioning of the government will be closed. This includes but is not limited to:
- National Parks and Museums
- Many court Cases will be suspended
- The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency
- The FTC
- National Health institute
- Vouchers will be unavailable for housing
- Passport requests
- Small Business applications
- NASA (what’s left of it) will close save for the people working for the international Space Station
Now clearly that isn’t everything that will be impacted, but that is a start of some of the major things I thought about when I heard “Shutdown”. This shutdown can last indefinitely until the congress learns how to work together. Blame blasting aside, both sides need to realize neither is going to get their way 100% (unless one side caves to media pressure), and until they do, the government will remain closed.
Hope that helps you a little in understanding what’s going on. Please comment if I missed something or stated an error. :)