After an impasse in Congress over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the federal government shut down on Friday, Jan. 19. With no compromise reached before the midnight EST deadline, funding for the government lapsed, meaning most federal agencies cannot function at full capacity.
This is the first shutdown since 2013, when the Republican Party forced a shutdown for two weeks over the Affordable Care Act. This is also the first shutdown to occur while a single party holds control of Congress and the executive branch.
Shutdowns are generally an orderly process where non-essential staff and offices are put on furlough. Nonetheless, in the event of a shutdown, be prepared for potential difficulties accessing services.
Citizens who depend on federal services will feel the impact in some ways, but they will not necessarily be devastating. The postal service should still deliver Social Security checks on time, housing services for the houseless will continue and veterans can still access medical care.
While the Internal Revenue Service still expects you to file your taxes, you’re unlikely to be able to visit the pandas at the National Zoo or the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. However, though many National Park rangers will be off-duty during the shut down, National Parks will not be gated off to visitors.
Senate Democrats agreed to support a measure to reopen the government on Monday, Jan. 22 after Republicans promised to address DACA by Feb. 8.
For the current status of services, readers can check individual federal agencies’ websites.
Are you a PSU student with questions about the shutdown? Email [email protected] for an upcoming Q&A story!