10 things that could ruin your day if the government shuts down
That family trip to the Grand Canyon could be in jeopardy if Congress and the White House fail to reach a budget agreement.
April 7th, 2011
07:48 PM ET

10 things that could ruin your day if the government shuts down

The list of collateral effects of a potential government shutdown keeps growing and people are none too pleased about it. Here are just a few of the negative impacts that could arise if Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement on the budget (click here to view in chart form):

  • The lawmakers who hold the cards will still get paid. Their staffers might be furloughed, though. That has prompted a few lawmakers to announce they'll refuse shutdown pay,but even that has elicited critiques of political posturing.
  • Roughly 800,000 federal workers won't get paid because they're considered nonessential and therefore, the first to be furloughed. That includes people who work in national parks because they'll be closed, ruining countless long family road trips. And it's not just the loss of income that hurts - for many, it's being labeled dispensable when they know their jobs are anything but nonessential.

  • As the shutdown looms, some political leaders are taking the opportunity to fundraise and rally their supporters. The executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an appeal asking for a minimum $5 donation saying the organization wants to raise $100,000 in the next 36 hours.
  • You'll still get your Social Security checks but don't expect anyone to be around to answer your questions about benefits. The people who take questions on Social Security and Medicare questions will not be at work and most government websites will shut down or have limited functionality.
  • Various agencies with the Department of Health and Human Services will operate in a patchwork fashion. The National Institutes of Health will not accept new patients or start new clinical trials. The Food and Drug Administration won't operate at full capacity but will have some inspectors on staff. As a result, all FDA inspections of food processing facilities and drug manufacturing plants will be prioritized by risk.
  • Word is getting around that a government shutdown doesn't actually save taxpayers money. For one, it will cost the government money to ensure a smooth transition to a shutdown. Then there's the lost revenue from a variety of sources, from government services to gift shops in government-run attractions such as Yosemite National Park and DC's National Gallery of Art.

How would a government shutdown anger you?

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Filed under: Budget
soundoff (2,555 Responses)
  1. Joan Wheeler

    The government we have - on both sides of the aisle - is a total failure. In the real world [where the rest of us have to make our way] they would not survive. Too bad we can't fire all of them from the president down to the last member of the House. Oh, and all the federal agencies, too. My question, however, is: why do Americans put up with it?

    April 8, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • uuhhh

      you want to fire everyone who works for a federal agency?... and put about a million people out of their jobs?... isn't our economy messed up enough?

      April 8, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Hawg

      Good question, why do we pit up with it. The Mid East is showing what happens when the people get tired of being ignored. Maybe mass demonstrations are in order!!!!

      April 8, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Tia

      @Uhhh...did you fail at reading comprehension or at American government? Everyone from the president down through the house (as in the House of Representatives) is hardly everyone who works for the federal government and it certainly isn't millions of jobs. But thanks for playing, here's your sign.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • n900mixalot

      Because "we" love American Idol so much that more of us vote for the people on that show than vote for our government representatives.

      😦

      April 8, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Doh....

      @Tia... Keep reading: "Oh, and the federal agencies, too." Wasn't necessary to be so harsh.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • guest

      "Too bad we can't fire all of them from the president down to the last member of the House. Oh, and all the federal agencies, too."

      Tia - looks like Joan would like ALL federal employees to go, in addition to the President and all members of Congress. Seeing as at least 800,000 people would be affected just by the furlough (which does not include "essential" federal employees), uuhhh's assessment that 1 million people would lose their jobs as a result is actually pretty close. Don't hand out signs too quickly.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Unionworker

    Close it down already. I'm sick of the hysteria.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Epidi

      Actually, you may have a point there. If they can't reach an agreement because of all the rooster strutting posturing over political finger pointing, then perhaps they can reveal themselves to be as the ineffectual and impotent in making good fair decisions they are presenting themselves to be and let it shut down. Then we'll see if any of them (on both sides, partys) get re-elected. If they do, then we the people are idiots for allowing them back into such positions of authority and governance.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. DaMan5

    Great summary, imagine if the laws stated that the lawmakers LOSE their pay as a penalty if there is a shutdown, I'm sure there would be no "looming" shutdown situation right now!

    April 8, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. momof5

    The easy way to fix this, kick out the idiots and send in the millitary spouses. The routine is there right along w/ the no-excuses rule.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. BioHzrd

    Yeah this angers me. Of course they would shut down right as tax day looms ahead. For a congress that fought long and hard to get elected to put people back to work, this sounds to me like one loud FAIL on their part.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. DaMan5

    Real classy John, put your true name on the commentary next time you decide to spread bigotry.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      So how come you don't leave YOUR real name? Oh wait...its because you're a hypocrite!

      April 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shawn moser

    WERE ALL GONNA DIE!!! this wasn't suppose to happen till late 2012!

    April 8, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. chris

    Maybe these lawmakers should suspend their pay as well since they can't seem to do their job in a timely manor. If the men and woman taking gunfire can't get paid then why should the ones sitting behind the desks not doing what they were elected to do. Not only does that look and sound horrible but its absolutely ridiculous and americans should see this and make sure these people don't make it back into office!

    April 8, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Seadancer

    Taxpayers pay for Wahington's trash pickup.................? I have to pay for my own trash pickup

    April 8, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • kiki

      If it makes you feel better, the citizens of DC do not have a voting representative in either house of Congress and yet they still pay income tax.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Kalid

      No, but the DC budget is controlled by Congress, so when the Federal Government closes, so does the DC Government. Sucks huh?

      April 8, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      actually we here in DC pay taxes for our trash pick-up, not you. All our services are federal since we're a federal district and congressmen from MN or OH can decide how our tax money is spent. We are the last colony.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • JT

      Try moving to a city then...

      April 8, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. big mowma

    Our country started on its path to self destruction with Reaganomoics, helped along the way by both major political parties. The Tea Party doesn't have the answers. Obummer is just a sock puppet and the US citizens are too weak to do anything. I am watching our country and democracy fall before my eyes and no one willing to step forward except for Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, and they can't get the support they need. So what if Dennis says he saw a UFO? How many in the House and Senate have had mistresses, associations with the mafia, winked at drug lords, taken bribes, etc.? People need to stop watching the news and sit back and see what is really happening. Let your conscience be your guide. What is really going on?

    April 8, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • n900mixalot

      Well, for one thing, UFOs are on a completely different level of possibility than are drug lords, mafia, and mistresses. If that doesn't make sense to you ... I blame our education system.

      Ron Paul has makes more money in one year (2008) than I will probable ever see in my entire life. He is part of the problem and you have to realize that anything he says has the best interest of his finances as the NUMBER ONE priority.

      What you people cannot seem to get through your thick skulls is that there are MORAL, SOCIAL and other POLITICAL issues that are being tagged onto the proposed budget measures that lie at the core of each of the party platforms. That is UNACCEPTABLE.House Republicans are being driven by their nonacceptance of abortion, and their disbelief that greenhouse gasses exist and are harmful. Fine, whatever, take that stuff OUT and pass a budget so that there doesn't have to be a shutdown.

      What is REALLY going on is a battle between differing sets of ideals instead of a battle to pass a budget. You want to hear what they are really saying? Try CSPAN1 for the House, and CSPAN2 for the Senate. Then you will hear it from their own mouths instead of through the filter of popular media. But you know what the problem is there? Well, they are difficult to understand without a law degree or a PhD in Civics.

      This shutdown is a HUGE wake up call for everyone, but none of my friends outside of the DC area seem to be paying attention. Friends in California haven't even heard about this. Is most of America watching with baited breath? Nah. Does most of America care about what the government does unless it affects them both obviously and directly. No way.

      Could they really understand the issues? Probably not. Why? American Idol results show was on last night.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • blil

      Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich? Are you serious? You do realize, don't you, that those two couldn't possibly be further apart in their respective ideologies. That's kind of like saying your two favorite baseball teams are the Yankees and Red Sox.....

      April 8, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. Barack Obama

    How's this "CHANGE" America?

    April 8, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • kiki

      Most people blame the GOP for this.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • JT

      change brought to you by your newly elected republican majority in the house, go figure.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Really???!?!?

      Kiki. I'd ask for your source on that statement, but I know you don't have one. Just typed the first nonsensical thing that popped into your head, huh?

      April 8, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kris

    It really wouldn't matter. Not like those idiots in washington do any work as it is. Oh wait they do only for the wealthy.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Deja Vu

    "The United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 was the result of a conflict between Democratic President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment and public health." – from Wikipedia.

    For those who suffer from short-term memory, this is a reminder that the GOP does not have the word "compromise" in their vocabulary. If it is not going to impact them directly, they could care less!

    April 8, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Spaceman

      hmmm....ok.

      First off, both parties are to blame. You can't argue that.

      Secondly, the Republicans control only the house. The Senate still belongs to the Democrats. It is by no means a "Republican-controlled Congress" this year.

      And finally, this budget should have been passed LAST year while the democrats still controlled the House and Senate. They managed to push through Healthcare and Wall Street reform but couldn't get around to the budget for this year?! If last year's Congress would have done their jobs we wouldn't be in this mess. And that's not to say this year's Congress is off the hook, they should have figured this out first thing. We should be hearing debates on the FY 2012, not FY 2011 budget.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. The Other Dale

    Good point made in the article that this isn't a case of the government not paying for anything once this happens. There's still going to be megacosts involved ... we're just passing it down a few weeks or months until Republicans finally stop holding their breath and act like adults. It's amazing how many Tea Partiers think this is funny – that shutting down the government is a "good thing" simply because it looks like they weren't going to get their way. We really don't need Governmental End-Timers like that if we're ever going to do anything to save our future. But for as much talk such individuals give to the "future generations" I'm not seeing anything proving they care. Only baby they care about is the one born in Hawaii back in the 1960s.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • NOVAres

      I don't have any references or figures, but I would guess closing the government for a few days or weeks and then reopening it will be more expensive than just keeping it going. The whole thing's really just a three-way p*ssing match between the Democrats, Republicans & Tea partiers.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. TexasT

    How would a government shutdown anger me? What a biased question! The answer: it wouldn't. The government doesn't have its own money. It only has our money. And if we are paying for 800 thousand "non-essential" employees, I want to know why.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • kiki

      Did you read the article? National Parks employees are considered non-essential. Why don't you head to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon and tell them that you are offended that you are paying their salary.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • n900mixalot

      Because "non-essential" employees are the ones who file the tax returns that pay for YOUR, your wife's, your children's social security, and who file visas and passports to make sure that the right people get in and get out of the country, and the wrong ones don't, and act as diplomats putting their lives at risk to make sure that we are at least on talking terms with other countries that hate us and want to attack us.

      You should leave the compound every once in a while and see that Texas isn't its own country, and cannot support itself with oil alone. You need things from the surrounding states, and believe me, if Texas was cut off from the rest of the US or the world, you guys would be SOL.

      It's time to start cooperating with other people and living as though the world doesn't revolve around you.

      April 8, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • NOVAres

      Nonessential is just a label. The article is misleading when it says workers will be upset to learn they're nonessential – they already know. Nonessential workers don't have to go in when the gov't closes for snow, for instance, while essential workers need to find a way to get there no matter what. It basically means they're nonessential short-term – it won't affect national security or public safety if they miss a few days of work.

      April 8, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
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