Kat Riddler, Managing Editor
The federal government shutdown at midnight Friday night after the Senate blocked a short-term spending bill. The final vote in the Senate was 50-49, short of the 60 votes needed to advance a continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. Government agencies are now be in the process of shutting down.
The last government shutdown occurred in 2013. Thousands of federal employees will be placed on furlough—meaning they will not report to work, will not be paid, but must be on standby to return to work and agree not to take other employment. Employees of agencies and departments that are considered nonessential, including agencies that pay out small business loans and process passport requests, will cease working effective immediately until Congress is able to agree on a bill for funding the federal budget.
In previous shutdowns, furloughed employees were paid retroactively after a budget was agreed upon. This one will also be different in that some national parks and monuments will be open. However, services that require staffing and maintenance such as campgrounds, full service restrooms, and concessions may not be open. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo turned off its popular panda camera and zoos and museums will be closed on Monday but might reopen for the weekend.
Congress and the President still get paid when the government is shut down. The military is considered essential and will still be active, but after February 1, they might not be paid. According to CNN, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team will continue to operate.
The mail will still be delivered, social security checks will still be cashed, and taxes are still due even though a large portion of IRS employees are furloughed. The shutdown will also affect the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives (i.e. gun permits).
Congress reconvened on Saturday. The House reconvened at 9 a.m. House Republicans said that until the government is reopened, they would stop negotiations with the Democrats over DACA. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blamed the President in a speech on the Senate floor SUnday, saying that Democrats had agreed to funding part of the President’s promised border wall with Mexico if DACA young people would be allowed to remain in the United States. The House left pointing fingers blaming the lack of a resolution on the other party.