With the deadline for government funding approaching, lawmakers are at risk of causing a government shutdown. If no deal is reached, federal agencies will be forced to furlough hundreds of thousands of workers without pay until funding is restored. The last time the federal government faced a shutdown was in 2018, which lasted for 35 days. This will result in a pause in federal services, programming, and pay, affecting people across the country. While some essential services will still be available, many federal employees could be furloughed or asked to work without pay. Additionally, nutrition and food assistance programs may be paused, affecting millions of individuals who rely on them. National parks, social services, and federal health agencies may also be impacted.
In case of a shutdown, approximately 2.1 million civilian federal workers could experience delayed paychecks, while around 4 million federal contract workers might not receive any payment. Nutrition and food assistance programs, such as SNAP and WIC, run by the Agriculture Department, are expected to be affected. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service may run out of funding to support normal WIC operations, impacting nearly 7 million pregnant women, infants, and children who rely on the program. Institutions like Head Start and Meals on Wheels could face interruptions, as well as national parks, visitor centers, and museums. Health care services are expected to continue, but research could be paused, and community health centers that rely on federal grants may be forced to cut back their services or staff. Furthermore, active-duty servicemembers would continue to work without pay, while certain Pentagon civilians would be required to work without pay to protect life and property. Finally, federal law enforcement efforts, such as human trafficking investigations and drug crackdowns, could slow down due to the lack of funding.
In conclusion, a potential government shutdown would have far-reaching consequences. Federal workers would face furloughs or work without pay, nutrition and food assistance programs could be paused, social services and national parks may be affected, and health care and research services might be interrupted. Additionally, active-duty servicemembers would continue to work without pay, and federal law enforcement efforts could be hindered. As the deadline looms, lawmakers are still working to reach a funding agreement and avoid a shutdown.