What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

Government shutdown: Will you get your Social Security check; what happens to SNAP, WIC?

President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that if he does not get funding for border security, including a promised wall between the United States and Mexico, then he will consider shutting down the government.

"I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!" Trump tweeted. "Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! "We need great people coming into our Country!"  

Government funding expires on Sept. 30 at midnight, 37 days before the midterm elections in November, something that has been making Republicans nervous.

While congressional Republicans say they are not expecting a shutdown a few weeks before the midterm elections, Senate Republicans did pass several funding bills on Wednesday with the aim of keeping the government running when current funding runs out in September.

According to a story from Politico, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), say they believe the president will hold off on a full-fledged fight over a border wall until after the election. 

>>Read more trending news  

McConnell, said in an interview last week that a government shutdown only a little more than a month before the Nov. 6 elections “won’t happen.”

It is not the first time the president has threatened a shutdown. In January of this year, the government shut down briefly before he signed a $400 billion budget deal.

So, what would happen if the president refuses to sign the legislation to fund the government on the last day of September? 

Here’s what to expect:  

First, a government shutdown doesn’t mean the government completely shuts down. Employees and services deemed “essential” would remain in place. About half of the federal employee workforce, however, could be furloughed – sent home without pay.

Certain government agencies would shut down and certain services would be curtailed because there would be no bill that funds those agencies and services. If Congress cannot agree on a bill to fund the agencies, or if the president does not sign such a bill if one is passed by Congress, then one of two things happen: The government shuts down with non-essential services shut down, or Congress could pass something called a continuing resolution.  
A continuing resolution, or “CR,” is legislation that funds government operations at their current spending levels until a new funding bill is passed.

CRs can fund the government for days, weeks or months.  

Here is a list of services and how they could be affected if there is a government shutdown at the end of September.

Air travel

Air travel would not be affected as federal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and Transportation Security Administration screeners would remain in place.

Federal court 

For about two weeks, federal courts would continue operating normally. After that time, the judiciary would have to furlough employees not considered essential.

Food safety 
The Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls. Most routine safety inspections would be halted.

Health 

Patients in the National Institutes of Health would continue to be treated. New patients would not be accepted until a funding bill is in place.

International travel 

You could still get a passport and visa applications would still be processed by the State Department. Fees collected when someone applies for a visa or a passport fund those services.

Loans 

The Federal Housing Administration, the agency that guarantees about 30 percent of all American home mortgages, wouldn't be able to underwrite or approve any new loans during a shutdown, causing a delay for those using one of those loans to purchase a home. 

The mail 

You would still get mail, as the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars for everyday operations.

Military 

Active-duty military personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed.

National parks 

All national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums. Visitors in overnight campgrounds in national parks would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.

School lunches, SNAP and WIC 

School breakfasts and lunches funded by the federal government would not be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, could be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which used to be called the Food Stamp Program, would continue to be funded and SNAP benefits would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.

Science 

The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather.

Social Security 

Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would be paid, but new applications for those payments could be delayed. 

Veterans services 

Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs would continue.

Sources: The Associated Press; Politicothe Congressional Research Service

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