What a Partial Government Shutdown Means for You

A partial government shutdown occurs when Congress cannot agree on a budget for certain federal agencies. If a shutdown occurs, the government stops all “non-essential” services, while essential services, such as the armed forces, border protection, air traffic controllers and police and fire departments will continue to operate.

Additionally, Congress has already passed several spending bills, so employees of those department will not be furloughed. These include the departments of Defense, Education, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Labor, Health and Human Services and the legislative branch.

My office will remain open and staff will be available to take calls from those who are concerned about how a government shutdown will impact them. Please call me if you have specific questions or concerns during this time.

Bellingham: 360–733–4500

Everett: 425–252–3188

Washington, D.C.: 202–225–2605
 
 The following is a list of frequently asked questions on how a government shutdown could impact you and your family.
 
 What Services Will Be Stopped?
 Unlike previous shutdowns, this shutdown is partial. Congress has already passed several spending bills, so employees of those department will not be furloughed. These include the departments of Defense, Education, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Labor, Health and Human Services and the legislative branch.

What you can expect during this shutdown is that nearly 400,000 government employees will be furloughed from their jobs. Federal employees that are furloughed will not receive pay. Another 420,000 government employees will be working without pay during the holidays including 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers and up to 88 percent of Department of Homeland Security Employees including Customs and Border Protection agents and customs officers, Coast Guard women and men, Transportation Security Administration employees and Secret Service agents and officers.

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration will be unable to support the majority of its food safety activities. Many services for identity theft victims will stop. There will be no services for visitors to National Park Service sites like Olympic National Park and San Juan Island National Historical Park. U.S. Department of Agriculture aid to farmers will be stopped. The Small Business Administration approval of small business loans and loan guarantees will stop. The ability for the Federal Housing Administration to process and approve loans will be significantly delayed. State and local law enforcement training programs will stop. Payments to roughly 3,000 public housing agencies, which help manage the country’s HUD-assisted housing and supportive services programs for more than 3 million low-income households, will be delayed.

Some local services that will be impacted:

  • The USDA Service Center in Mount Vernon, which provides support for farmers and rural communities will shut down.
  • The National Park on San Juan Island will be closed.
  • If Everett Housing Authority does not receive the funds for the Housing Assistance Payments for Section 8 that will be sent out on Jan 2 they could not mail landlords rental assistance checks.
  • Shutdown would prevent the Food and Nutrition Service from purchasing commodities and providing funding for transportation, distribution and storage of food.

What Services Will Continue?
 Services that are deemed essential for the safety of human life and the protection of property will continue. This includes the armed forces, border patrol, police, fire fighting and federal workers who provide medical care on the job. The Postal Service and the Federal Reserve, which are both self-funded, will also continue to operate.

Congress has already passed several spending bills, so employees of those department will not be furloughed. These include the departments of Defense, Education, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Labor, Health and Human Services and the legislative branch.

Will I Still Get My Social Security Benefits?
 Current law suggests that the Social Security Administration has the authority to continue mailing checks. Though checks will continue to be mailed, a number of Social Security employees will be furloughed, which means new Social Security claims may not be processed. 
 
 Will Veteran Benefits Continue?
 While VA hospitals will remain open, the last government shutdown saw many veterans’ benefits cut or reduced. 
 
 Will Unemployment Benefits Be Affected?
 Depending on the length of the shutdown, the federal funds that help states pay the costs of their unemployment programs could run out, which would require the state to step in and advance the money to keep their programs running. Otherwise, benefits would be reduced or stopped.

Will I be able to get my passport processed?

Visa and passport services may be impacted during a shutdown. Passport agencies in certain government buildings may no longer be accessible to the public.

I am planning to travel for the holidays, will my trip be affected?

TSA agents, air traffic controllers and border security agents will be required to work through a shutdown without pay.

Will national parks be open?

There may be no services for visitors to National Park Service sites like Olympic National Park and San Juan Island National Historical Park.

I am traveling to Washington, DC, will my trip be affected?

Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo operations may be impacted during the shutdown. Please check with the individual museum you plan to visit to see if they will be open during the shutdown.

Will Congress continue to get paid during the shutdown?

Congress has already passed legislation to fund the legislative branch along with the departments of Defense, Education, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Labor, Health and Human Services. These departments are funded through the shutdown.