How a Government Shutdown Could Affect You

How a Government Shutdown Could Affect You

As lawmakers debate the budget, here’s what’s at stake if they can't reach a spending agreement.

Published April 6, 2011

As Republican and Democratic lawmakers continue to negotiate a long-term funding resolution for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, there are strong odds that a government shutdown could happen this week. The administration has proposed a compromise bill that would cut $33 billion to $40 billion in spending from the original budget proposal for 2011, and the GOP leadership has called that insufficient. A resolution is needed because a 2011 budget was never passed.

With the prospect of the government’s ability to spend money ending Friday, looks at how the shutdown could affect you.

Military personnel would not be paid if the government shuts down for an extended period of time, which in some cases could present a hardship for their families who are living paycheck to paycheck. Veterans’ services also would be affected.

Federal workers would be furloughed without pay. They would most likely eventually be paid, but when is anyone’s guess. Those inclined to work anyway have been instructed by the Obama administration to stay at home. Employees are prohibited from working for free or taking paid leave.

The National Park system will shut, which means places like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will be closed. During the shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, the clinical center at the National Institutes of Health rejected new patients, and the Centers for Disease control temporarily stopped monitoring the spread of HIV/AIDS, the flu and other diseases. At the state department, hundreds of thousands of passport applications couldn’t be processed, and the public also couldn’t file applications for other government benefits or services, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security cards and claims. The 1995 and 1996 shutdowns cost the federal government $1.4 billion.

Have you done your taxes yet? If not, you may want to file them electronically. The IRS won’t be processing paper returns during a shutdown and refunds could be delayed.




(Photo: Roger L. Wollenberg /Landov)

Written by Joyce Jones


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