Posted at: 09/30/2013 6:15 PM
Updated at: 09/30/2013 11:12 PM
With the budget deadline now gone on Capitol Hill, Northland workers prepare for what a government shutdown means.
The 148th will most likely see furloughs of 240 military technicians. The Minnesota National Guard said more than 1,000 technicians are at risk of furloughs statewide.
All National Parks will close including the Northland's Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Voyageurs National Park and the Grand Portage National Monument.
About 800,000 U.S. federal employees will not go to work Tuesday. This scenario is all to familiar for one Superior woman.
"We lost in the whole fight, all the way around," Mary Ann Jones said.
Jones worked at the Twin Ports V.A. Clinic for 14 years, but is retired now. She suffered through the last government shutdown 17 years ago.
"We didn't get a paycheck for six to eight weeks," Jones said.
While she didn't get paid, Jones still had to work. That last shutdown prompted change that will protect V.A. workers this time around.
"The shutdown would not affect any veterans hospital or clinic," Public Affairs Officer Ralph Heussner said. "The budget for the V.A. is on a two-year cycle. The current dilemma in Washington regards agencies which are on the annual budget cycle."
Here's a look at how services would or would not be affected if Congress fails to reach an agreement averting a government shutdown at midnight Monday.
Federal air traffic controllers will remain on the job and airport screeners will keep funneling passengers through security checkpoints. Federal inspectors will continue enforcing safety rules.
The State Department will continue processing foreign applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services. Embassies and consulates overseas will continue to provide services to American citizens.
Social Security and Medicare benefits will keep coming, but there could be delays in processing new disability applications. Unemployment benefits will still go out.
Federal courts will continue operating normally for about 10 business days after the start of a shutdown, roughly until the middle of October. If the shutdown continues, the judiciary would have to begin furloughs of employees whose work is not considered essential. But cases would continue to be heard.
Deliveries will continue as usual because the U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations. It relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running.
All national parks will be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo in Washington. Visitors using overnight campgrounds or other park facilities have been given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park. Among the visitor centers that will be closed: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Alcatraz Island near San Francisco and the Washington Monument.
New patients will not be accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, but current patients would continue to receive care. Medical research at the NIH would be disrupted and some studies will be delayed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks, from flu to that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.
The Food and Drug Administration will handle high-risk recalls suspend most routine safety inspections. Federal meat inspections are expected to proceed as usual.
A small number of Head Start programs, about 20 out of 1,600 nationally, will feel the impact right away. The federal Administration for Children and Families says grants expiring about Oct. 1 will not be renewed. Over time more programs will be affected. Several of the Head Start programs that will immediately feel the pinch are in Florida. It's unclear if they will continue serving children.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, could shut down. The program provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children. School lunches and breakfasts will continue to be served, and food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs will not have the money to operate.
Americans will still have to pay their taxes and file federal tax returns, but the Internal Revenue Service says it would suspend all audits. Got questions? Sorry, the IRS says taxpayer services, including toll-free help lines, will be shut as well.
Many low-to-moderate incomes borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages could face delays during the shutdown. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, will not underwrite or approve any new loans during the shutdown. Action on government-backed loans to small businesses will be suspended.
NASA will continue to keep workers at Mission Control in Houston and elsewhere to support the International Space station, where two Americans and four others are deployed. The National Weather Service will keep forecasting weather and issuing warnings and the National Hurricane Center would continue to track storms. The scientific work of the U.S. Geological Survey will be halted.
The majority of the Department of Homeland Security's employees are expected to stay on the job, including uniformed agents and officers at the country's borders and ports of entry, members of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration officers, Secret Service personnel and other law enforcement agents and officers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will continue to process green card applications.
President Obama signed legislation Monday evening ensuring members of the military will continue being paid.
All 116 federal prisons will remain open, and criminal litigation will proceed.
Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue because lawmakers approve money one year in advance for the VA's health programs. Veterans will still be able to visit hospitals for inpatient care, get mental health counseling at vet centers or get prescriptions filled at VA health clinics. Operators will still staff the crisis hotline and claims workers would still process payments to cover disability and pension benefits. But those veterans appealing the denial of disability benefits to the Board of Veterans Appeals will have to wait longer for a decision because the board will not issue any decisions during a shutdown.
Federal occupational safety and health inspectors will stop workplace inspections except in cases of imminent danger.
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