It’s happening again.
In less than a week, the federal government will run out of money. And no, they are not calling our bluff. Congress can’t agree on how to fund parts of the federal government. And, unfortunately, it’s about to get messy.
Basically, the House and the Senate have to agree on a government funding bill by Sept. 30. If they don’t, come October, the government will shut its doors. And there’s a big elephant in the room blocking that agreement – Obamacare. The way it’s looking now is that if doesn’t get defunded, no budget agreement will be put into place.
But here’s the bigger problem, as we’ve already come to learn. We can’t necessarily depend on these politicians to get it together and play nice. A shutdown happened for 21 days back in 1996. And if last year’s fiscal cliff mess was any indication - politicians love to disagree.
All we can do at this point is figure out what it will actually mean if the two sides don’t come to an agreement by the end of the week. Like, how this will affect you in daily life.
But first, let’s take a look at things that won’t change.
- Social security checks will still be mailed.
- Veterans hospitals would still stay open.
- Postal service will still deliver.
- The U.S. military would still be in operation.
- Employees who conduct “essential activities” would be left alone. Like emergency medical care, food safety inspections, border control, federal prisons and some law enforcement.
- John Boehner’s “bitchy resting face” would still be the same.
That, we can always depend on. But if things go to shit – and it looks like things will go to shit – these are a few things that will certainly change.
- All of the “other” law enforcement I didn’t include on the “safe” list above. That means the The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms will stop processing applications for firearms and alcohol. And the government might stop working on a number of cases like bankruptcy and child support.
- The National Park Service may close hundreds of sites.
- Visas and passports may stop being processed for thousands of applicants.
- Roughly half of federal employees will be furloughed and sent home without pay in the event of a shutdown.
- The federal government would have to take a break from working on drilling permits and processing applications for liquefied natural gas exports.
- Trash will pile up in the streets…well in Washington D.C.
Sorry about that last one, guys. But no money for the government means no budget for the city. Congress approves money for the District. So you might want to invest in some Febreze.
No word yet on if an agreement is on the horizon. But we do have one other blow to the stomach for the nation.
The nation is set to hit the debt ceiling and go into default in mid-October. Wait, who are we to blame for this again?
Generally speaking, no one comes out looking good if the government shuts down. A Pew Research poll conducted Sept. 19-22 shows 39 percent of Americans would blame Republicans if a shutdown were to occur, compared with 36 percent who would fault the Obama administration and 17 percent who would hold both sides responsible. According to a Pew poll from a comparable period during the 2011 budget battle, the public spread the blame around nearly identically.
Oh, nobody. Thanks.