A few things you need to know about the potential government shutdown.
The fiscal year ends at midnight on Monday, September 30. If the Democrats and Republicans do not reach a spending deal by then, a partial government shutdown will take effect. “Partial” is the key word. It’s the word I didn’t hear a single time as I flipped through every news source available on my television. Partial doesn’t evoke fear; it doesn’t bring ratings.
With that out of the way, let’s dive in.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – otherwise known by its ridiculously polarizing moniker: Obamacare – is the primary source of contention here. Early this morning, House Republicans approved a spending plan that would essentially delay for one year the implementation of PPACA while also repealing its taxes on various medical devices. Democrats are refusing to accept such last-minute changes, while the Republicans have vowed to not back down from their demands. It’s basically a game of chicken that is going so far that separate votes are actually being held about what will be shut down if this partial shutdown does indeed go into action – one vote, for example, ensures that the military will continue to get their money.
If a Partial Shutdown Happens
– Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other programs that are funded automatically or funded independently/by taxpayers (such as the US Postal Service) will not be noticeably effected.
– Government agencies that rely on yearly funds (like the National Park Service) will be hit hard and could close immediately. However, even this is “partial.” According to the USA Today, employees who perform “critical functions” will keep on working – this includes air traffic controllers and firefighters but excludes researchers, those working in federal wildlife refuges and possibly park rangers.
What’s Going to Happen on Monday and Tuesday?
Here’s how The Guardian breaks it down:
Democratic leaders in the Senate may attempt talks with House Republicans to try to reconcile their two contradictory positions, but this seems unlikely before the midnight deadline for federal spending authorisation expires.
Under the Anti-Deficiency Act passed in the 1880s, federal government officials are prohibited from spending money except for essential staff. Who is deemed essential will be determined by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which has published a preliminary list here.
In short, my advice is to not get too scared about all of this. The vast majority of us likely won’t notice any changes to our daily lives. In case you want to see what changes might-maybe-could happen, check out this article titled 10 ways a government shutdown would affect your daily life.