What Really Happens in a Government Shut Down?

Liberals hate it. Libertarians live for it. Jobs depend on it.

The government shut down this weekend. And as a result there are naturally lots of questions…

So, here’s what happened, and what happens next-

Why did the government shut down?

The government is subsidized by laws going through Congress. Congress did not pass a government funding law by the time the previous one expired. The current, divisive funding issue at hand is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). This program keeps immigrant children from being deported. The Trump administration attempted to not fund DACA, and the law was not passed before time expired. Congress created a filibuster to avoid the bill, which therefore shut the government down.

Has the government been shut down before? 

The government has shut down 18 times. The first time was in 1980, due to a budget dispute. The time before the Trump administration, was under Obama in 2013 and lasted 16 days.

What happens during a government shut down?

Any non-essential government employee will not work. So, what does this mean?

What is open, running, and working?

The Military will still be in action overseas. The only thing is, they will not be payed until Congress approves the funding. Here at home, the National Guard will not work. Neither will Military intelligence or equipment maintenance.

The Social Security administration will remain running.

The U.S. Postal Service will continue to be open its regular hours.

Airlines will be up and running. Air-traffic employees and TSA employees with still be paid.

Some national parks are open, but not all. As of Monday, most have reopened including the Smithsonian.

The VA hospitals and clinics will remain in service. They may experience slow downs, but as a whole are still open.

Federal courts will stay open for up to 3 weeks in a shut down.

What is closed and stagnant?

Some government websites are either not working or being currently edited. They tell you when you open the page, if the site is active right now.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be closed.

Air Force Athletics have been cancelled until further notice.

The Library of Congress is not participating in any public events during the shut down.

The International Revenue Service (IRS) will not provide customer service.

How is congress paid during a government shut down?

Due to the 27th amendment of the Constitution, congressional salaries can not be changed. This amendment states that Senators and Representatives must be compensated, by law, from the US Treasury.

Some members of congress have committed to giving their pay to charities during this time. Republican Mark Walker is refusing his salary. He stated that he would be declining due to the members of the military not receiving pay checks. Many other representatives are donating their pay.

What’s going on as of Monday?

On Monday, January 22nd, the senate voted overwhelmingly to reopen the government, 81-18. The house voted very similarly at 266-150. Democrats decided to end the shut down due to a commitment from Republicans to vote on the legislation. Congress will continue the debate on immigration.


Cover Photo Courtesy of NPCA Photos.



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