What a government shutdown means for you

The last government shutdown was over four years ago, when Sen. Ted Cruz infamously read Dr. Seuss during his filibuster against funding the ACA. Yesterday brought another shutdown, as congress struggles to find a compromise that the president agrees with.

Democrats’ priorities have included reinstating protections for immigrants like those from El Salvador, funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and DACA protections; Republican priorities have included increased funding for border security and cutting taxes that help pay for the ACA.

Since they didn’t come to an agreement, all non-essential government programs have shutdown until they come to a budget agreement for the next fiscal year. What does that look like for D.C. residents?

No Smithsonian museums

If the government shuts down, the Smithsonian museums, including the zoo, said they will try to remain open for the weekend, but will close the following week. The zoo’s statement provided reassurance that the animals will be fed, they just won’t be open to the public (this includes things like the Panda Cam online).

The national mall will probably be open

When the government shutdown in 2013, all national parks, including the monuments around the mall, closed. However, the Department of the Interior will keep as much as possible accessible, after veteran outrage when barriers were put up at the WWII memorial during the 2013 shutdown.

The Department said memorials will remain open as well as open-air parks, but “culturally sensitive” areas might not be, though they did not elaborate on what that includes.

You can still follow the Russia probe

A Justice Department spokesperson said that the Special Counsel’s Office is exempt from shutdowns, and will continue even without official current funding. Federal courts have a cushion for a couple weeks if there’s a shutdown. Criminal proceedings are considered essential, but if there is a long shutdown, civil cases may have to wait.

You’ll get your mail

Because the post office doesn’t rely on funding from the yearly federal budget, their services continue during a shutdown. When package services gives you those packages, however, is a different question.

And don’t worry if you’ve just ordered something big from Amazon that needs to be flown out; air traffic control, like the TSA, is considered essential and will continue.

Work in government? Depends on your job

If you’re a low-level paid employee, you’ll likely be cut from work until the shutdown ends, though there are government employees who are required to work with backlogged pay during a shutdown.

You’re less likely to get the day off if you have a typical government internship; if you aren’t getting paid to begin with, why would a cut in funding affect you? Of course, check with your specific job to be sure.

Originally published at gw.therival.news by Emily Milakovic on 1.20.18.
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