The U.S. Federal Government Shutdown is affecting both government workers and people who need government services.
The government shutdown is still looming, and on Friday, this will become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. From airports to national parks to federal offices, workers and customers are feeling the strain. Here’s everything you need to know about who the shutdown is affecting and how it could be affecting you.
Essential services, like passport services and the post office, are still business as usual
Services that are considered essential to public safety and security are still open for business. This includes passport and social security offices, so if you need a passport renewal or social security benefits, you won’t be affected. In addition, federal programs supported by their own fees, like the Post Office, don’t shut down. Lastly, programs that don’t rely on annual funding approval from Congress, like Medicare and social programs, are also not affected.
TSA workers aren’t getting paid during the Shutdown
There are over 400 airports in the US that have Federal TSA workers enforcing airport and aviation security – and they’re not getting paid. There have been multiple news reports that TSA workers are skipping work in droves. (“Two Weeks Into the Shutdown, Hundreds of TSA Agents Have Stop Showing Up For Work”). TSA hasn’t refused to share just exactly how many have not shown up for work, but there is growing fear that the effects will be increasingly felt with longer lines at airports.
Your favorite national parks, museums, and monuments are closed
That’s right: All national parks, museums, and monuments are closed. This is certainly the most visible effect of the shutdown. If you’re traveling in the West, you’ll need a backup plan for visiting Yosemite or Yellowstone. If you’re in the DC, none of the free Smithsonian museums are open either. Even though National Parks are shutdown, they’re still being overrun with trash, prompting some volunteers to step up as stewards.
State services, like the DMV, are not affected
We’ve had a lot of questions about what is and isn’t affected by the government shutdown, including people asking about the DMV. DMV’s are controlled by states in the US, so they’re in the clear: You can still get your driver’s license, renew your registration, or get an appointment to take care of driving-related business.
About 800,000 federal employees are affected by the shutdown
If the shutdown continues through this Friday, thousands more federal workers will miss their paycheck. This is incredibly worrying to many, especially folks living paycheck to paycheck. A long piece in the New York Times yesterday examines some of these workers and their stories: “Nobody signed up for this”.
Is there an end in sight to the government shutdown?
It doesn’t look good. President Trump is holding out because of immigration reasons, including his claim that a border wall between US and Mexico is the solution. Meanwhile, Senator’s Pelosi and Schumer accuse trump of “manufacturing a crisis” and holding the federal government hostage