What a government shutdown means to you – Forbes Advisor

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Lawmakers have taken steps to avoid a government shutdown, for now.

Today, Congress approved the extension of federal government funding until December 3. The extension comes just hours before the current funding expires.

This means that the federal government and non-essential services can stay open. Millions of federal workers will continue to be able to report to work and receive paychecks. But how lawmakers will handle government funding at the end of the year remains unknown.

Here’s what could happen during a shutdown if lawmakers miss the next funding deadline.

Which services are affected by the government shutdown?

In the event of a government shutdown, non-essential federal services shut down until new funding legislation is passed and enacted. Each federal agency has its own shutdown plan, which indicates whether its operations can continue during the shutdown and whether it should put its employees on leave.

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), many programs are exempt from a government shutdown. However, many services would suffer negative consequences that would trickle down to ordinary Americans. Here are four of the biggest.

1. IRS delays

During a government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would not be able to verify income and Social Security numbers. He would also have difficulty answering questions from taxpayers and resolving compliance issues quickly.

At a press conference on Wednesday, however, press secretary Jen Psaki insisted on telling reporters that the IRS should continue to process tax refunds and child tax credits, in the event of a shutdown. and dismissal of IRS employees.

2. The challenges of delivering food stamps

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, has been a vital lifeline for families struggling with the economic consequences of the pandemic. While a government shutdown will not cut funding, it could prevent food stamps from being sent. According to the CRFB, previous current resolutions only authorized the sending of services for 30 days after the start of a shutdown. If a shutdown were to last longer than that, families who already have limited means might be forced to cut back on their grocery budgets.

3. New social security claims, veterans affairs will not be processed

Those currently receiving social security benefits would not be affected by a government shutdown. But new claims or claims for federal benefits, such as Social Security or Veterans Affairs payments, would not be processed during a government shutdown, which could result in a delay in receiving the first payments.

4. National parks and monuments could close

National parks have proven to be a very popular refuge during the pandemic—parks like Yellowstone set monthly visit records in 2021.

However, a government shutdown could put kibosh on the vacation plans of many Americans. When the government shut down in 2013, more than 300 parks, national monuments and other sites were closed. However, during the 2018-2019 closure, many remained open, without any visitor service or maintenance. It is not known whether these facilities would close if they are closed again, but it is possible, especially to maintain order during a global pandemic.

Why were we facing another stop?

The longest government shutdown in history, lasting 35 days, occurred between 2018 and 2019. It began when Trump requested funding for a $ 5.7 billion interstate wall. United and Mexico and refused to sign a government funding bill that did not include it. It is estimated that 800,000 federal workers and 1.2 million contractors went without pay during this period, which was held during the holidays, with some workers so negatively affected. that they have applied for unemployment benefits.

The current federal funding was taken amid a political confrontation in Congress – and lawmakers ended it by passing a continuing resolution. But it happened.

In total, about 60% of the 2.1 million federal civilian employees would have been out of work without pay if lawmakers had not struck a new funding deal.

Read more: Will Congress lift the debt ceiling and prevent a government shutdown?

In addition to the political drama, the country continues to grapple with a deadly and highly contagious virus. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it would be a terrible time for a government shutdown.

“The worst time in the world when we want to shut down government is in the midst of a pandemic where 140,000 people a day are infected and 2,000 people die every day,” Fauci said in an interview with the Washington Post. “This is the time when you want the government to work hard to solve this problem.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that a shutdown would be difficult for pandemic relief efforts, such as updated treatment recommendations, but that “the vast majority work on Covid would be exempt “.

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