Here's What Happens if There’s a Government Shutdown

Here's What Happens if There’s a Government Shutdown


Parts of the federal government were preparing to shut down at midnight on Friday as negotiations between President Trump and lawmakers continued.

Much of the government is already funded through the end of the fiscal year in September, thanks to five bills passed earlier this year that cover about $900 billion of the $1.2 trillion in operating expenses for federal agencies. Departments that will be unaffected by the shutdown include Defense, Labor, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services. About two-thirds of the federal workforce is also fully funded. Mandatory spending will be unaffected, so Social Security and Medicare payments should continue without interruption.

Here’s a rundown on the parts of the federal government that will be affected:

* Nine federal departments and several dozen independent agencies will close up shop, including:

  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Homeland Security Department
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of State
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Justice
  • Peace Corps
  • General Services Administration
  • Small Business Administration

* More than 420,000 federal employees will work without pay, though they likely will be paid once the government reopens. That includes:

  • 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • 53,000 Transportation Security Administration employees
  • 42,000 Coast Guard employees
  • As many as 54,000 Customs and Border Protection employees
  • 5,000 Forest Service firefighters
  • 3,600 National Weather Service forecasters

* About 380,000 federal employees would be placed on temporary leave without pay, including:

  • 44,000 Forest and National Park Service employees
  • 41,000 Department of Commerce employees
  • 17,000 NASA employees
  • 52,000 IRS employees
  • 7,100 Housing and Urban Development employees
  • 18,300 Transportation Department employees

* National Park Service employees likely will be furloughed, resulting in some park shutdowns. During the shutdown in January 2018, the agency asked employees to keep parks accessible as possible while still following the law. About one-third of national parks closed completely, while others were open but lacked staff. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said Friday that he will use state funds to keep the Grand Canyon open.

* Thousands of government contractor employees will also miss work, and many will not receive back pay.

* The shutdown’s effects aren’t limited to furloughs and service delays. According to William G. Resh and Susannah Bruns Ali, academics who study public policy, repeated shutdowns erode the government’s ability to function properly. “The fallout from a shutdown could substantially impact the long-term ability to retain, recruit, and manage the career civil service and contracted employees that comprise our national government,” Resh and Ali write. For more, see their analysis at Government Executive