NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Democrats and Republicans bicker over $30 billion, thousands of government employees wonder whether they will go to work on Monday.
The current continuing budget resolution expires at 12:01 a.m. Friday. After that, all “nonessential” government employees will be sent home until Congress passes and the president signs a budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.
The problem is no one knows exactly who is considered “essential.”
According to an ABCNews.com article, about 800,000 federal employees would be prevented from working in the event of a shutdown.
The workers would not be paid, causing the economy to lose $1.1 billion in unpaid wages for each week the shutdown lasts.
If the government does shutdown, what will it mean for the millions of Americans nationwide?
The following departments will not be interrupted:
- Postal Service
Neither rain nor snow nor government shutdown will stop the mail. Local officials say post offices in Nashville and around the country will remain in operation even in the event of a shutdown.
Officials said at airports across the country will continue to fully staff security screeners, easing traveler fears about long lines or delays because of a shutdown. Air traffic controllers and TSA agents are considered “essential” government employees.
- Social Security
For those on Social Security, payments will continue as usual.
As for soldiers like those at Ft. Campbell, they won't get paid under a government shutdown, but would get back pay once a budget agreement for the fiscal year is reached.
- Federal Prisons
The prison system will be virtually unaffected by a government shutdown.
People will still receive Medicare benefits, paid for by an emergency trust fund. If the shutdown were to last for several months, Medicare benefits would stop, but that is highly unlikely.
Every member of Congress decides who is “essential” on their staff and most have said they will not furlough any of their staff members. Any staff members who are furloughed will not only be banned from the halls of Congress during the shutdown period, they will also have to turn off their office-issued BlackBerry cell phones.
- Law Enforcement
At such agencies as the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Marshals, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives it will be business as usual for the most part.
- Department of Energy
The Energy Department will not furlough any employees and it will be basically business as usual because of a “no-year fund” to pay for expenses.
The following departments will continue to work, but with limited services:
The tax deadline, April 18, will not change, but the IRS will not process any paper tax returns. The IRS will continue to collect tax money.
- Department of Veterans Affairs
Health and cemetery services and benefit payments for Veterans will not be affected because they are appropriated on a two-year cycle. Answers to email and telephone inquiries, hiring, recruiting, training and fraud investigations will be suspended.
- Department of Homeland Security
Over 80% of the workforce has been deemed to be “essential” personnel for agencies such as TSA, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, Coast Guard, FEMA and Immigration Customs Enforcement.
- Department of Justice
The Criminal Division and the National Security Division, which conducts counterterrorism/counterespionage operations and wiretaps, would continue working, but large bureaucratic agencies, such as the Office of Justice Programs and Bureau of Justice Statistics, are not likely to be viewed as essential.
- National Transportation Safety Board
The chairman and managing director may authorize very specific investigative activity and extremely limited support for ongoing investigative activity. All other activities will cease.
- State Department
The department will continue working domestically but refused to comment on all foreign services. Other consular functions deemed essential for national security reasons will continue.
- Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA will continue to do work that “affects safety and life.” It will cease issuing permits, and delay work on environmental impact statements.
- Department of Defense
A “significant number” of civilian employees will be furloughed.
The following departments will not be working:
- Passport Processing
If you need a passport during a government shutdown there will be delays. Officials say passport processors won't be working.
- Federal Housing Administration
The FHA, which guarantees 30% of all mortgages, would not be able to guarantee housing loans.
- Small Business Administration
SBA approval of business loan guarantees and direct loans to people would stop during a government shutdown.
- National Park Service
All national parks, such as Yosemite, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon and monuments, would be closed.
For more on the shutdown and what it might mean for you, visit ABCNews.com.