What will and won't happen with the shutdown

Campers in national parks are to pull up stakes and leave, some veterans waiting to have disability benefits approved will have to cool their heels even longer, many routine food inspections will be suspended and panda-cams will go dark at the shuttered National Zoo.
Associated Press
Oct 1, 2013

Those are among the immediate effects if parts of the government shut Tuesday because of the budget impasse in Congress.
In this time of argument and political gridlock, a blueprint to manage federal dysfunction is one function that appears to have gone smoothly. Throughout government, plans are ready to roll out to keep essential services running and numb the impact for the public. The longer a shutdown goes on, the more it will be felt in day-to-day lives and in the economy as a whole.
A look at what is bound to happen, and what probably won't, barring a political breakthrough:
THIS: Washington's paralysis will be felt early on in distant lands as well as in the capital; namely, at national parks. All park services will close. Campers have 48 hours to leave their sites. Many parks, such as Yellowstone, will close to traffic, and some will become completely inaccessible. Smithsonian museums in Washington will close and so will the zoo, where panda cams record every twitch and cuddle of the panda cub born Aug. 23 but are to be turned off in the first day of a shutdown.
The Statue of Liberty in New York, the loop road at Acadia National Park in Maine, Skyline Drive in Virginia, and Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, will be off limits. At Grand Canyon National Park, people will be turned back from entrance gates and overlooks will be cordoned off along a state road inside the park that will remain open.
"People who waited a year to get a reservation to go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon all of a sudden will find themselves without an opportunity to take that trip," said Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service.
BUT NOT THIS: At some parks, where access is not controlled by gates or entrance stations, people can continue to drive, bike and hike. People won't be shooed off the Appalachian Trail, for example, and parks with highways running through them, like the Great Smokies, also are likely to be accessible. Officials won't scour the entire 1.2 million-acre Grand Canyon park looking for people; those already hiking or camping in the backcountry and on rafting trips on the Colorado River will be able to complete their trips. The care and feeding of the National Zoo's animals will all go on as usual.
The shutdown won't affect Ellis Island or the Washington Monument because they are already closed for repairs.
THIS: The Board of Veterans Appeals will stop issuing rulings, meaning decisions about some disability claims by veterans will wait even longer than usual. Interments at national cemeteries will slow. If a shutdown drags on for weeks, disability and pension payments may be interrupted.
BUT NOT THIS: Most Department of Veterans Affairs services will continue; 95 percent of staff are either exempted from a shutdown or have the budget to keep paying them already in place. The department's health programs get their money a year in advance, so veterans can still see their doctor, get prescriptions filled and visit fully operational VA hospitals and outpatient clinics. Claims workers can process benefit payments until late in October, when that money starts to run out.
THIS: New patients won't be accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, including 255 trials for cancer patients; care will continue for current patients. Federal medical research will be curtailed and the government's ability to detect and investigate disease outbreaks will be harmed. Grant applications will be accepted but not dealt with.
BUT NOT THIS: The show goes on for President Barack Obama's health care law. Tuesday heralds the debut of health insurance markets across the country, which begin accepting customers for coverage that begins in January. Core elements of the law are an entitlement, like Social Security, so their flow of money does not depend on congressional appropriations. That's why Republicans have been trying explicitly to starve the law of money. An impasse in approving a federal budget has little effect on Obamacare. As for NIH operations, reduced hospital staff at the NIH Clinical Center will care for current patients, and research animals will get their usual care.
THIS: Most routine food inspections by the Food and Drug Administration will be suspended.
BUT NOT THIS: Meat inspection, done by the Agriculture Department, continues. The FDA will still handle high-risk recalls.
THIS: Complaints from airline passengers to the government will fall on deaf ears. The government won't be able to do new car safety testing and ratings or handle automobile recall information. Internal Transportation Department investigations of waste and fraud will be put on ice, and progress will be slowed on replacing the country's radar-based air traffic system with GPS-based navigation. Most accident investigators who respond to air crashes, train collisions, pipeline explosions and other accidents will be furloughed but could be called back if needed.
Kristie Greco, speaking for the Federal Aviation Administration, said nearly 2,500 safety office personnel will be furloughed but may be called back incrementally over the next two weeks. The union representing aviation safety inspectors said it was told by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta that nearly 3,000 inspectors will be off work. Greco did not confirm that.
BUT NOT THIS: Air traffic controllers and many of the technicians who keep air traffic equipment working will remain on the job. Amtrak says it can continue normal operations for a while, relying on ticket revenue, but will suffer without federal subsidies over the longer term. FAA employees who make grants to airports, most Federal Highway Administration workers and federal bus and truck safety inspectors will also stay on the job because they are paid with user fees. Railroad and pipeline safety inspectors will also remain at work.
THIS: About half the Defense Department's civilian employees will be furloughed.
BUT NOT THIS: The 1.4 million active-duty military personnel stay on duty and under a last-minute bill, they should keep getting paychecks on time. Most Homeland Security agents and border officers, as well as other law enforcement agents and officers, keep working.
THIS: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, could shut down. It provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children.
BUT NOT THIS: School lunches and breakfasts will continue to be served, and food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will still be distributed.
THIS: A shutdown that lasts two weeks or more would probably start to slow an already sluggish economy, analysts say. Closures of national parks would hurt hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses. And federal workers who lost pay would spend less, thereby curbing economic growth. A three-week shutdown would slow the economy's annual growth rate in the October-December quarter by up to 0.9 of a percentage point, Goldman Sachs has estimated. If so, that could mean a growth rate of 1.6 percent, compared with the 2.5 percent that many economists now forecast.
BUT NOT THIS: Little impact on the economy if the shutdown only lasts a few days.
THIS: Economic data will be interrupted as the Bureau of Labor Statistics ceases almost all operations. This will leave the stock market without some of the benchmark economic indicators that drive the market up or down. The key September jobs report, due Friday, could still be released on time if the White House authorizes that, but that's not been determined. Statistical gathering also is being interrupted at the Commerce Department and Census Bureau. This means the government won't come out on time with its monthly report on construction spending Tuesday or a factory orders report Thursday.
BUT NOT THIS: The weekly report on applications for unemployment benefits is still expected Thursday. The Treasury Department's daily report on government finances will be released normally and government debt auctions are to proceed as scheduled. And at Commerce, these functions continue, among others: weather and climate observation, fisheries law enforcement and patent and trademark application processing.
THIS: Some passport services located in federal buildings might be disrupted — only if those buildings are forced to close because of a disruption in building support services.
BUT NOT THIS: Except in those instances, passport and visas will be handled as usual, both at home and abroad. These activities of the Bureau of Consular Affairs are fully supported by user fees instead of appropriated money, so are not affected. As well, the government will keep handling green card applications.
THIS: The Federal Housing Administration, which insures about 15 percent of new loans for home purchases, will approve fewer loans for its client base — borrowers with low to moderate income — because of reduced staff. Only 67 of 349 employees will keep working. The agency will focus on single-family homes during a shutdown, setting aside loan applications for multi-family dwellings. The Housing and Urban Development Department won't make additional payments to the nation's 3,300 public housing authorities, but the agency estimates that most of them have enough money to keep giving people rental assistance until the end of October.
BUT NOT THIS: It will be business as usual for borrowers seeking loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together own or guarantee nearly half of all U.S. mortgages and 90 percent of new ones.
THIS: Possible delays in processing new disability applications.
BUT NOT THIS: Social Security and Medicare benefits still keep coming.
Associated Press writers Sam Hananel, Matthew Daly, Joan Lowy, Kevin Freking, Hope Yen, Lauran Neergaard, Andrew Miga, Deb Riechmann, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Lolita C. Baldor, Jesse Holland, Mary Clare Jalonick and Alicia Caldwell in Washington; and Felicia Fonseca at Grand Canyon National Park, contributed to this report.


The New World Czar

Interesting, the government shuts down last night at midnight, the Capitol Building is still lit, Harry Reid's underwear is sticking outside the back of his pants as he's moaning after midnight, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is electrifying her scary hair and mouth on CNN, Rachel Maddow is frothing at the mouth on MSNBC, and Bloomberg Network is crowing gloom and doom.

I slept fine last night, thank you.


Market futures are up this morning!

Ya just need to learn the "secrets" of how the Political Ruling Class, i.e. the above mentioned make their money, and let the Proletariat fret over a govt. shut down.


Dog and pony show has started and the chicken game continues all at the expense of the country and the people you live in it. We have an dictatorship government where the Democrats think they are the only party that should exist and there should be no democracy at all, their word or the highway.


Nope, Dems just realize that, through the 2012 election, the people have voted their party and mindset into power. They also realize that the losers (GOP) should not get to dictate policy, and completely stop the governing process if they don't get their way.

Conservatives thought Dems would cave, as usual, and this time, we decided to play hardball the exact same way the GOP has done in recent years.

Why IS it that Republicans think that losing an election means you get to run the show?


Funny that Obama and Reid voted against Raising the debt limit in 2006, Pretty sure they are hypocrites and you fell for the rhetoric of change.


Re: "the losers (GOP)"

Short memory there; the Repubs were returned to control the HOR in '12.


I think we both know that the only reason the GOP maintained control of the House is because of extreme gerrymandering. They actually had fewer total votes in all House races. If you can't win through normal means, then you find ways to cheat/bend the process to affect a win here and there. The dying gasp of a dying party, whose constituency continues to shrink...

They, of course, can't gerrymander an entire country, which is why they continue to (and will continue to) lose presidential elections.


Re: "the GOP maintained control of the House is because of extreme gerrymandering."

Facts IS facts. Regardless of how you wanna "spin it."

Good thing that the Dems NEVER gerrymander. :)

Also, the Repubs have the majority of the state governorships and legislatures.


@ coasterfan

But they are trying like hell to gerrymander an entire country by voter suppression and whatever else.


Re: "But,"

Not to worry, your SSDI and Medicaid benefits are safe for now.


off topic


Re: "off topic"

Right, but only for Medicaid recipients like you who don't have to worry about the exchanges.


Why do you hate America , comrade ?


Re: "Why,"

So how long have your been collecting SSDI and on Medicaid?


So how long have you been hating America ?

What planks do you love about Communism ?


Keep in mind.....voter suppression is "code" for "May we please see your ID?" ;-)


"voter suppression"

Yes having the Black Panthers intimidate non dem voters!

ACORN falsifying voters, creating voters, bringing back dead voters.

I guess it takes Chicago land style politics to drive their agenda down the honest publics throat!


Re: "voter suppression"

Yea, showin' a valid ID is harkening back to the Jim Crow days.

Give me a (bleepin') break!

And these are the same *ssholes that aren't concerned about hackers and identity theft on the IRS, the NSA and now the Obama☭are databases.

Dr. Information

House election is over coasterfan, time to move on kid.

Peninsula Pundit

The opportunity for Compromise was missed by the Republicans while the national health care bill was being crafted.
The Republicans wanted no part of ensuring that Americans would have access to health care and refused, as a party, to participate in the process.
THAT'S where they erred.
THAT was the time for compromise.
NOW, when it comes to an up or down vote on something that was passed by Congress, upheld in a clearly conservative Supreme Court and actually starting TODAY, they are at the edge of the cliff,with no ground left to stand on.
All of us have said at one time or another that it's a travesty how bills, that often in and of themselves have broad support in Congress, are voted down because of a unrelated rider attached to the bill.
None of us believe that is right.
But here, it's just 1 bill and 1 rider.
The bill is to fund the government.
The rider is to delay for 1 year the implementation of national insurance.
Drop the rider and let's move on.
It's just plain common sense.


Re: "The opportunity for Compromise was missed by the Republicans while the national health care bill was being crafted."

Revisionist history.

You musta been watching another Bipartisan Health Care Mtg. than the one that was televised.

Pres. Obama: My way or the highway.



Do you really believe what you say Contango??? The President: My way or the highway??? All he has ever done was cave to the TP/GOP. He has finally grown a pair and refuses to time-after-time fight to uphold the ACA. It's about damn time.


Re: "uphold the ACA."

Is that why this boondoggle had to be passed on a partisan basis using legislative trickery because Pres. Obama and the Dems "compromised”?

Go pedal that manure elsewhere.

So where does your health care ins. originate? Will you be going to the exchanges?


Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the Republican controlled Supreme Court uphold it's legitimate enactment? Yep, that tricky Justice John Roberts.
My insurance? Why I have to pay for it through my employer just like most of middle class America has had to. But, my employer keeps raising the price on me, increasing my deductibles and out-of-pocket ceiling. I really can't afford to become ill, even with my insurance. Again, just like most of middle America.


Re: "it's legitimate enactment"

SCOTUS ruled that it was a tax.

The Obama admin. originally argued that it was a "mandate" and not a tax.


Like Justice Scalia said: Why can't the govt. just mandate that you eat beets?

Why don't you suggest to your employer that he just cut you a check like Walgreen's, Trader Joe's and other cos. and allow you to go on those exchanges for "affordable" health care ins.?


The Rethuglicans have counted on being able to continously use tactics equal to extortion when it has come to the budget. Either cut funding for the Affordable Care Act or we're just gonna stomp our little feet and hold our breaths until we turn blue.
Well aria fans..the fat lady has sung and the President/Senate is going to let them throw their tantrum. But, guess who is getting most of the blame for this? That's right--the tea tards/GOP.
They're like a drowning person asking someone to throw them a cement block to save them. Too funny.


How can we expect Congress to get along and stop finger pointing when everyone who elected them is fingerprointing? How can we expect change when we're just as bad as our elected officials?


Great comment! But it sure seems out of place in the SR blogosphere. We can’t allow your kind of common sense to prevail…what would all the regulars do for fun?


Keep it shut down until we pay off the debt.


Send your SS check back and we will get right on that! LOSERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!