The United States Government initiated a partial closure of its activities at midnight on Friday due to lack of funds to finance them after Republicans and Democrats did not reach a budget agreement in Congress.
In these closures, government employees are vulnerable to the possibility of ending up receiving a suspension in the form of temporary unpaid leave . Other “essential” workers, including those dealing with public safety and national security, continue to work, some with pay, others without pay.
The last closure of the US federal administration, in October 2013, lasted more than two weeks. More than 800,000 federal employees were suspended. This is what happened then and what the authorities estimate will happen now.
Waiting to verify the practical consequences of this closure, the head of the Pentagon, James Mattis, warned that some military operations will be suspended pending funds, although the lack of budget will not affect the war in Afghanistan or the State Islamic in Iraq and Syria.
All military personnel on active duty would remain in normal service status, but would not be paid for the period of closure until Congress has the funds allocated. Civil personnel in non-essential operations will receive a temporary discharge.
At the last closure, military personnel continued with their normal state of service, but approximately half of the 800,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense received the unpaid leave . Almost all of them were convened a week after the Department of Defense implemented the “Pay Our Army” Law, which had recently been approved by Congress.
Faced with this closure, the Department of Justice, with many “essential” workers, has a contingency plan, according to which about 95,000 of the almost 115,000 employees of the department would continue working.
The Securities Market Commission of the Government of the Securities Market finances itself through the collection of the financial industry, but its budget is established by Congress. It has been said in the past that it could continue operations temporarily in a close. But he would have to fire the workers if Congress passed weeks before approving new funds.
If a lockout occurs, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would have to lay off 95 percent of its employees immediately. A spokeswoman for the agency said the derivatives regulator could call additional staff, however, in case of financial market emergency.
In 2013, national parks closed and night visitors had two days to leave, resulting in a loss of 750,000 daily visitors, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. National Parks Conservation Association. The National Park Service estimated that the closure cost $ 500 million in lost visitors in areas around parks and Smithsonian museums.
Popular tourist sites such as the Smithsonian closed in 2013, and barricades were installed at the Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress and the National Archives. The National Zoo closed, to the misfortune of its visitors, and followers of its popular “Panda Cam” – which retransmitted images of the pandas of the zoo, and had to suspend its operations.
Five years ago, the Treasury dispatched 90% of its staff , according to the Center for American Progress. A total of 4,000 million in tax refunds were temporarily delayed, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Delivery by mail
Deliveries continued as usual because the US Postal Service does not receive tax dollars for daily operations.
Air and train travelers did not suffer a major impact because security officers and air traffic controllers remained on the job. Passport processing continued with some delays.
The federal courts, including the Supreme Court, remained open. The Administrative Office of the US Courts has explained that the federal courts could continue to function normally for approximately three weeks without additional funds.
Records of Obamacare’s newly created health insurance exchanges began as scheduled. The Medicare health insurance program for the elderly continued largely uninterrupted. Yes, a program was temporarily suspended at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track outbreaks of influenza. Hundreds of patients could not enroll in the clinical trials of the National Institutes of Health , according to the OMB.
Six programs of the federal infant education services, Head Start , were closed nine days in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina. 6,300 children were affected.
Social Security and disability checks were issued with no change in payment dates and field offices remained open but offered limited services , and there were delays in the review process for new applicants.
Processing of mortgages and other loans was delayed when lenders could not access government services, such as income and verification of the Social Security number. The Small Business Administration was unable to process approximately 700 applications (a total of 140 million in loans) until the closure ended.