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What Really Happens in a Shutdown?

Do you support a shutdown over border wall funding?

by Countable | 12.17.18

If Congress fails to pass a spending bill by midnight Friday, the third partial government shutdown of 2018 will occur.

Will you still be able to get your mail? Visit a national park? Investigate a sitting president for possible collusion with a foreign power? Here’s what you need to know about a potential government shutdown:

What is a government shutdown?

The federal government receives most of its funding from Congress. A shutdown occurs when Congress and the president fail to sign into law a spending bill to keep the government running.

Who stops working?

Over 800,000 federal workers are obligated to stop showing up for work—something known as an "unpaid furlough."

Here are some of the major departments that shut down:

  • Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Food and Drug Administration.
  • Health and Human Services.
  • Internal Revenue Service.
  • NASA.
  • National Institute of Health.

Who stays on the clock?

"Essential" employees, such as those in law enforcement and security, will continue working.

Do members of Congress and the president still get their paychecks?

A Congressional Research report answered this question:

"Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution forbids the salary of the President to be reduced while he or she is in office, thus effectively guaranteeing the President of compensation regardless of any shutdown action."

"Due to their constitutional responsibilities and a permanent appropriation for congressional pay, Members of Congress are not subject to furlough. Additionally, Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution states that Members of Congress ‘shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.’"

Is the military affected?

The military gets paid on the 1st and 15th of every month. During previous shutdowns, military personnel on active duty - including reserve component personnel on Federal active duty - were instructed to continue reporting for duty and carrying out their assigned duties.

Will airport security be even worse than usual?

Airports will remain open and air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration officials will stay on the job.

Amtrak will continue operating trains through the shutdown.

Can I still visit a national park?

Yes, but bring your own maps. The national park system is expected to remain open, but visitor centers probably won't.

Will the Russia investigation continue?

Yes. Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation is funded by a permanent indefinite appropriation, not an annual Congressional appropriation.

Will I still get my mail?

Don’t fret. The Postal Service isn’t funded by Congress—your coupons to the local tire place will arrive as always.

Look, I was actually asking about my Social Security Benefits

Yes. You will continue to receive your Social Security Benefits.

And Domino’s coupons.

How long will a shutdown last?

Long as it takes. Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress need to reach a deal to fund the government. The government shutdown of 2013 lasted 16 days.

What do you think?

Last week, President Donald Trump said he'd "be proud to shut down the government" over his demands for money for a border wall

Do you support the shutdown? Take action above and tell your reps, then share your questions and comments below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: CatLane / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(341)
  • TrulyTexan
    Voted No
    12/17/2018
    ···

    No shutdown and NEVER funding for a stupid border wall. How secure does the toddler tyrant think the border will be with the government shut down? He is an idiot and the democrats are the only thing keeping him from completely destroying this country.

    Like (66)
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  • James
    12/17/2018
    ···

    No wall, no shut down, give the president a present for Christmas, his walking papers

    Like (53)
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  • Judith
    Voted Yes
    12/17/2018
    ···

    DO NOT GIVE IN TO TRUMPS TEMPER TANTRUM DEMANDS FOR MORE MONEY LAUNDERING MONEY !!! DEMOCRATS HAVE COMPROMISED ENOUGH !! CHAIN YOUR DEMOCRATIC ASSES AND SPINES TO THE ROCK OF GIBRALTAR !!!! OR PREPARE TO GET THE HELL OUT OF CONGRESS AND DIG DITCHES ALONG SIDE CRIMINAL TRUMP AND HIS CRONIES !!

    Like (31)
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  • Austin
    Voted Maybe
    12/17/2018
    ···

    If a shutdown is what is needed to ensure the border wall never gets funded, then so be it!

    Like (23)
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  • collins1129
    Voted No
    12/17/2018
    ···

    The border wall is ridiculous. Don’t give them a dollar for this xenophobic and ultimately fruitless project.

    Like (43)
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  • Robert
    Voted Yes
    12/17/2018
    ···

    Shut it down. Fund Border Security. Stop illegal aliens, invaders and drugs from pouring into this country and we save hundreds of billions annually. 75% of the govt is funded and only non essential employees are sent home and everyone still gets paid. Let’s see who in CONgress opposes border security so we can target them and vote them out.

    Like (28)
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  • John
    12/18/2018
    ···

    Build the wall. Shut er down. Lock her up.

    Like (7)
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  • NoHedges
    Voted Maybe
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Well, we could hope Pelosi steps down from the speaker race and allows new blue reps to actually represent the voters who elected them, instead of creating a huge trust wound to 51 million blue wave voters. And we could hope Trump suddenly decides that early retirement in Russia sounds much better than a jail cell in the US. But, more than likely.... nothing more than the same kick the can crap we have been witnessing for more than 2 years now. As for a wall build a virtual one, this is working in other countries and it is worth a shot here at home.

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  • Sharon
    Voted No
    12/17/2018
    ···

    The US doesn't need a border wall. Illegal immigration numbers are down significantly. Instead of wasting money on a border wall, Congress needs to enact serious and helpful immigration reform. Do your jobs!

    Like (24)
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  • burrkitty
    Voted No
    12/17/2018
    ···

    No wall, no shutdown. Tell that toddlers that his temper tantrums are pointless.

    Like (21)
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  • Victor
    Voted No
    12/17/2018
    ···

    The fact that our president is “happy” to use people jobs as a bargaining chip in his political agenda causes me to lose faith in our country’s leadership.

    Like (21)
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  • DrCindyBean
    Voted No
    12/17/2018
    ···

    No wall. Wall is a money laundering scheme. No wall. No shutdown. Two options have been prepared by congress - to keep government open - We do not need a wall and we do not need a shutdown. This is reality TV games. Stupid. Get on with government. No wall. No shutdown.

    Like (17)
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  • J. scott
    Voted No
    12/18/2018
    ···

    To my representatives no shutdown and no compromise on funding the wall. Government shut downs are expensive, disruptive, reflects poorly upon the efficiency of our democratic republic, and is just plain silly and unnecessary. You all should sponsor a bill making it illegal — the law hasn’t always been this way. Perhaps more than anything else I can think of at the moment this would Make AMERICA great Again.

    Like (17)
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  • Mark
    Voted Yes
    12/18/2018
    ···

    Less government is better government. Shut it down. For as long as it takes to secure full funding of our southern security border wall.

    Like (15)
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  • Mike
    Voted Yes
    12/18/2018
    ···

    The Dems supported a border wall when President Obama was in office. I'm sick of Democrats playing games with our security because they dislike President Trump's success in office.

    Like (14)
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  • Delmar
    Voted No
    12/17/2018
    ···

    I’d rather have a government shutdown over budget than over a damn wall!! We don’t need a wall! We need to impeach the bastard and that way the wall will go away! Besides wasn’t Mexico suppose to pay for the wall? If so, why do we need to spend any money on it? This is another case of 45 lying to the American public and the base believes anything he says!! It’s time to wake up and smell the crap

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  • Suelynn
    Voted No
    12/18/2018
    ···

    I am a new constituent in your area. I do not support the border wall in any way. Spending money on the wall is ill advised. Please do not support the President in his plan to shutdown the government and please do not allocate funds for the border wall.

    Like (14)
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  • Ronald
    Voted Yes
    12/18/2018
    ···

    Build the damn wall. Stop illegal entry and drugs.

    Like (13)
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  • Caren
    Voted Yes
    12/17/2018
    ···

    Stop playing games and fund the wall!!

    Like (13)
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  • Elaine
    Voted Yes
    12/17/2018
    ···

    The Dems supported a wall in the not too distant past. Just because it's Trump wanting the wall they are playing hard ball! Quit it! Work together on the wall for our safety and security.

    Like (13)
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  • Ian
    Voted No
    12/18/2018
    ···

    The Trump Border wall will not stop people from illegally entering the United States. Therefore I am opposed to the building of a border wall.

    Like (12)
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  • Connor
    Voted No
    12/18/2018
    ···

    It’s not ethical to have a wall, because their lives are in danger in their home countries.

    Like (12)
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