If the government shuts down again, Americans who need a new or replacement social-security card will have to wait. The National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian museums have enough money to stay open Saturday and Sunday and would close thereafter. Some federally produced economic reports won’t be released.
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission will keep five presidential appointees, one administrative judge, two employees and a computer expert on the job in case of an emergency, telling everyone else to stay home. The Environmental Protection Agency will shrink from a staff of more than 14,000 to three presidential appointees and 781 other employees to “protect life and property,” including by working on Superfund hazardous waste sites and securing EPA laboratories.
Under the Obama-era plan for the White House set in 2015, 545 out of 1,263 staffers would stay on the job, including 125 presidential appointees and other staff considered exempt from shutdown rules, as would 42 aides on the National Security Council and 128 officials at the Office of Management and Budget who can “assist in providing direction to the executive branch for the duration of any shutdown.”
Among the other effects of the 2013 shutdown cited by the Obama administration: 1.2 million mortgage and loan applications delayed because lenders couldn’t verify income and social-security numbers from the Internal Revenue Service, 200 drilling permits that languished at the Bureau of Land Management, and two million liters of U.S. beer, wine and distilled spirits that sat at ports because the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau couldn’t issue export certificates.
The Park Service lost around $7 million in revenue from entrance fees, campgrounds, tours and special uses, Mr. Obama’s OMB said. The October jobs report and consumer-price index weren’t released, and around $3.7 billion in tax refunds were stalled.
Without Head Start appropriations, some grantees in the program providing early-childhood education to low-income families temporarily closed. A similar situation now awaits enrollees in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has been without a reauthorization for three months, and has become a major sticking point in negotiations.
After the shutdown in October 2013, many federal workers now know the drill: Report to work for four hours of the first working day of a shutdown to learn whether they are subject to furloughs or considered exempt, put up “out of office” notices, secure property and tie up loose ends for an indefinite period.
And unlike in past shutdowns, federal workers can now readily access detailed guides from the Office of Personnel Management explaining that in some states they can file for unemployment compensation while going without paychecks, but will have to pay it back if they are awarded back pay—which Congress authorized in 2013.
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