What a federal government shutdown really means, and why its a good thing

“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.” — U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7, clause 1

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” — U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 9, clause 7

Not passing a bill fully funding the government has become the new normal for Congress. The failure to pass an annual budget has become the tool for political positioning.

QUESTION: Is shutting down the government a good or bad thing?

Countable.us provides these facts about a government shutdown.

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 continues working?

“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.

The Department of Defense issued guidance Friday saying that if there’s a shutdown: “Military personnel on active duty, including reserve component personnel on Federal active duty, will continue to report for duty and carry out 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?

During most shutdowns, no. This year, as the Washington Post explained, “Trump administration officials have made a precedent-setting decision to keep National Parks and public lands ‘as accessible as possible’ in the event of a shutdown.”

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.

If the federal government actually shuts down this may be a way to make lemonade out of lemons. This is a chance for the federal government to identify nonessential positions and look at eliminating them. President Trump froze hiring. This shutdown may help unfreeze some the taxpayers dollars by cutting the fat in the federal bureaucracy.


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