What Happens During a Government Shutdown?

What Happens During a Government Shutdown?

(DailyVantage.com) – Every year, Congress comes together to strike a deal to fund the government. At least, that’s how it is supposed to work.

When lawmakers aren’t able to come to an agreement, the government shuts down. Money stops flowing, and so does the work. But what really happens? Do all federal workers stop doing their jobs? And what about the cost?

Government Shutdown

When Congress doesn’t fund the government, you might think everything stops right away, but that’s not really what happens. Every agency has contingency plans in case of a shutdown. The planners decide what’s essential and what isn’t, and then the plans are coordinated with the Office of Management and Budget.

Here’s what happens during a full shutdown:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries may not receive the assistance they need if a shutdown is prolonged.
  • All non-essential federal employees are furloughed, but they are generally still paid. The problem is, that payment will be delayed. That causes hardship for workers.
  • Essential employees, including police, firefighters, the military, border patrol, etc, still have to go to work.
  • The shutdown may delay tax returns.
  • Military members still must work, but they may not receive their paychecks.

Service members are the only federal employees expected to continue working without pay, all other essential workers may see delays.

What Happens Behind the Scenes

Just because the government is shut down doesn’t mean it stops racking up bills. According to a 2019 report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the last three shutdowns cost the American people a combined $4 billion.

When a shutdown occurs, Congress immediately springs into action in an attempt to reach a funding agreement. Lawmakers know that the longer an event like this lasts the more expensive it is and the more people suffer. It isn’t good for anyone involved.

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