The impact of a federal government shutdown is highly dependent on what President Barack Obama’s administration determines is “essential” and “non-essential”.
For instance, the White House has made it clear that any personnel and services “necessary for the safety of life and protection of property” of the country and its citizens will continue.
There are a number of other possibilities, though. Here are a few examples:
- Social Security: Checks could go out to beneficiaries, but anyone who is a new applicant for benefits may face delays (100,000 delays occurred during 1995 shutdown)
- IRS: Processing of tax refunds for paper-filed returns (approximately 30 percent of total) would be suspended and other tax assistance programs may not be available (problematic with the filing deadline so soon)
- Construction permits: Developers and construction crews that need permits from the Army Corps of Engineers or the EPA would likely be delayed in getting to work, as the permitting process could be halted
- District of Columbia: The city would effectively have to stop trash collection for the first three days of funding lapse. Public libraries (except for security), and a variety of city offices that perform non-excepted functions, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, would suspend operations. The Cherry Blossom Parade scheduled for this weekend would not take place.
- Federal employees: Estimates say a shutdown would furlough about 800,000 employees nationwide.
- Military pay: Active duty troops are likely to be considered essential personnel and draw pay, but the White House’s Office of Management and Budget warns a shutdown could delay their pay and hurt military their families.
- National museums and national parks would be close.
It is expected that federal courts, VA facilities and the U.S. Postal Service are likely to be open if a shutdown occurs.