What You Should Know About The Partial Government Shutdown

Hours prior to the government shutdown we asked Bridgeport resident David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General, to share his thoughts about the impact.

If it does shutdown, it will only be a partial shutdown. Over 2/3rd of federal employees, including the military, are considered essential. All public safety and security functions would continue. However, purchases and payments would be stopped until some level of funding was allocated. Unfortunately, not a single appropriations bill has passed, including the one for the military. We should try to avoid a partial shutdown but it would not be catastrophic. In fact, most Americans would not even notice any meaningful impact of a partial shutdown for a few days. The real issue is the debt ceiling. That will have to be dealt with later this month and is a much more important issue.

What does this mean to you? From Congressman Jim Himes:

As you have undoubtedly heard, funding authorization for the federal government runs out on September 30. If legislation to reauthorize funding is not passed, the federal government will “shut down.”

A group within the House Majority is now insisting they will not support any measure to keep the government running that does not completely defund Health Care Reform, which is set to start providing instant tax credits for and access to affordable health insurance on January 1 to millions of Americans who have no other way to buy coverage. How this argument will play out remains unclear.

In the coming days, I will continue pushing my colleagues in Congress to act responsibly to keep our government open. However, here’s what you should know in the event Congress fails to pass a budget and our government shuts down:

Social Security checks will still go out, though there will be delays in the processing of new enrollees.

Medicare, which is considered an “essential service,” will remain up and running, and seniors will continue to get their benefits.

Passport offices will be closed except for emergency services.

Our men and women in uniform will be paid with IOU’s until the shutdown is over (at which point they will receive pay retroactively).

Most federal agencies will shut down as federal employees are put on furlough. However, air traffic controllers, hazardous waste handlers, and food inspectors will still work.

Businesses contracting with the federal government will have to push back project deadlines, because the agencies that hired them will be unable to issue the necessary paperwork.

National parks, zoos, and museums will be closed to visitors.

New gun permits will not be processed, as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be shut down.

The Small Business Administration will be unable to guarantee loans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will halt disease surveillance.

Certain FEMA flood mitigation and flood insurance operations will be suspended.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will be unable to honor Community Development Block Grants to state and local governments.

The Federal Housing Administration will be unable to endorse any single-family mortgage loans or process and approve new multifamily loans.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing will cease.

New provisions of the Affordable Care Act–including instant tax credits to help individuals and families purchase health insurance through the new affordable exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid in Connecticut–will still go into effect.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions regarding this or any other issue, you are welcome to contact my office by calling (202) 225-5541.



  1. Does anyone wish to make a case both the Senate and the House are critical to the operation of the country?
    What if they were closed down with all of the implications that produces? Senators and Reps receive no pay, their offices are closed to save on utility bills, their committee staff are out for failure to produce anything of value for Main Street USA. And the last item budgeted is for a round trip ticket back home, with a return fare when one by one, or two by two they come to a realization their work is to compromise in coming to agreement. The enemy of the good is the striving for perfection. And, by the way, if that is the current goal, will that aspirant tell me when they have gotten close to perfection in the past? Argue your principles until you are blue in the face, but if you are stuck and have us stuck with you, no one advances. So, no sale. Come home. No pay, just like those other folks who are not high priority for the security of the country.
    Shutting down football programs for the Service Academies is going to solve the problem for sure! Time will tell.

  2. Shutting down the football programs at the academies will make about the same difference to the national budget as the stipends to the city council make to the city. I think the point is the government has been ‘shut down’ for 20 hours and we all seem to be OK. Is the stuff that got ‘shut down’ things we really need? Can we really afford to keep letting these people spend like drunken sailors? Obama spent his allowance and chose to shut down the government unless we give him more money and fund his healthcare. Maybe he should mow some lawns or get a paper route if his allowance is not enough for him because I want to keep my money. They spent enough of my money already. If keeping the government running was as important to him as he claims he would call off his minions and accept the budget that defunds healthcare.

    1. In one sense I agree with you, BOE. Neither military academy athletic competitions nor Council stipends are ESSENTIAL to the operation of their respective levels of government.
      Obamacare, which includes lots of directives, regulations and other moving parts, seeks to provide healthcare to all US citizens, I believe. It is moving forward so we become like many other ‘Western democracies.’ With CT Access, our State’s health exchange enrolling people as of 10-1-13 for January, 2014, it will be interesting to see what the actual costs and benefits of the system will be. Certainly there will be tweaks and even major reforms in operations in the future, as there have been with all government programs over time. Will the public become wiser about calling for health treatments when they are paying premiums (subsidized or not)? Will access to current care be expedited by elimination of health history roadblocks? If all citizens are in the system, will private payments whether they come from individual pocketbooks or employer cost-sharing increase, or will public subsidies paid by the taxpayer be the biggest system funding increase? Will billing by health providers, diagnostic testing, physicians and surgeons, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, etc. come closer in terms of what is charged and what is actually paid by providers? I don’t know, but soon we will be able to stop guessing. That is for the good, and should eliminate some of the wrangling about facts and direction. Time will tell.

      1. I am a fan of knowing the future by looking at the past. Has medic-aid or medi-care done any of those things? Does any government program work smoothly or efficiently or perform as promised? I read, just last week, another Dr. Feelgood got caught charging for tests he never did in exchange for a prescription for narcotics. You put a lot of faith in the idea they will ‘get it right’ this time when they have never done well in the past.
        Here is a question for you. Take some random charity. Let us call it ‘feed the animals.’ They are required to use $0.15 on every dollar to actually feed an animal. They can put the other $0.85 in their own pockets. That is the charity/scam line dictated by the government. How much of every dollar spent by Social Security (or any government program) actually goes toward paying a retired person? Where do these programs fall on the charity/scam spectrum?
        BTW: a lot of the western democracies are going broke from their social programs and once you have these programs they never go away. There is no such thing as a TEMPORARY government program.

  3. *** What we should know is it’s a political game by a quarter faction of the Tea party supporting GOP to get attention towards cutting in any way Obamacare. Each and everyone up in the nation’s capitol who was a part of this coup should be identified by the media and all voting citizens of America should send them an e-mail requesting their immediate resignation from the Congress or U.S. Senate. *** THIS SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING IN OUR AMERICA! ***

    1. One thing. What if the 1/4 faction is doing the right thing? Did you demand the same thing for the WFP when they brought the BOE to a standstill with their grandstanding? Did people get this upset when Bridgeport public (BOE) employees took furlough days? Is this a double standard?
      Don’t worry, they will solve this subject soon. They stopped funding WIC, day care, head start and paying government employees but if this thing goes on long enough foreign aid will stop. That means the tap to Israel will be shut off. That will not happen.


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