US govt. shutdown: How services will get affected
Almost half of the two million civil federal government workers in the US have been placed on "furlough" and will be barred from doing their jobs from Monday owing to the US government shutdown. The shutdown is set to partially curb government services, and essential ones like defense and mail will continue to function. Here's more.
The US Department of Defense will continue to function; the US military will continue to fight wars and conduct missions around the world. However, the 1.3 million active personnel of the US military will be expected to work without pay until the Congress resolves the issue and approves funding. Meanwhile, intelligence operations and training for reserve forces would stop.
As far as the US Health & Human Services (HHS) is concerned, key services will continue to function. However, more than half of the HHS' 80,000-plus employees will be barred from doing their work and a vast section of HHS programmes, including the seasonal flu programme, could see critical disruptions. However, states will continue to receive funding for the Child Health Insurance Program.
The Justice department will see over 95,000 of its 115,000 employees "exempted" from being furloughed. These include members of the national security division, federal prison employees, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Firearms, and the US Marshals Service. Meanwhile, criminal cases will continue and civil cases will be postponed so long as there's no threat to public safety.
Despite the shutdown, many State department services will continue to function. Services like visa and passport processing will continue as they are largely consumer-funded. Meanwhile, the State department headquarters, in consultation with over 300 embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic missions worldwide, will prepare a list of non-essential personnel to furlough.
According to a person versed with contingency procedures, the 17 intelligence agencies of the US will see a significant number of personnel being furloughed. Essential personnel, however, will continue to work. Employees will have to carry out work without expectation of a regular paycheck. While federal employees can't be paid for days worked during a shutdown, they have been paid retroactively in the past.
According to an official, nearly 90% of the Homeland Security department's employees are considered essential and will continue to work. This means that employees in Customs, Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration will stay on the job. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will see 22% of its employees being furloughed while the Secret Service, also part of Homeland Security, will retain over 5,700 employees.
According to a shutdown plan posted on the US Treasury Department's website, almost 44% of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) 80,565 employees will be exempt from being furloughed. Thus, over 48,000 IRS employees will be sent home amidst ongoing preparations for the start of the tax filing season. Additionally, the IRS is currently ingesting sweeping changes made by a new Republican-made tax law.
34,600 employees out of the Transportation department's 55,100 employees will stay on the job, the bulk of who work for the Federal Aviation Administration. Investigations into auto safety defects will be suspended and compliance testing for vehicles will be delayed at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will continue to function.
Although most parks and other such places were closed in earlier shutdowns, the Interior department has said that national parks and public lands will remain as accessible as possible. However, spokesperson Heather Swift said that services which require maintenance and staffing like campgrounds, full-service restrooms, and concessions would be shut down. Culturally sensitive sites and backcountry lands are likely to be restricted or closed.