Thousands of government workers are unsure whether or not they will be heading to work on Monday amid uncertainty about how long a government shutdown will last.
Uncertainty is the byproduct of a government shutdown, with its impact often hard to predict. However, clues exist in the last shutdown, which was in 2013.
Key services will continue, and many agencies plan to use carryover funds to remain open for several days. But each day the shutdown lasts adds to the pressure on agencies, government employees and civilian contractors, as well as Americans who rely on various federal services.
Employees considered “essential” will still be required to report to work should the shutdown continue, while those in positions deemed “nonessential” will be barred from coming in.
The White House on Friday pledged to minimize the effects of the shutdown on the American people, with one official noting that the administration has urged government agencies “to do as much as they can” within the law to maintain operations.
The push for departments and agencies to utilize existing funding to remain open suggests the Trump administration is hedging its bets that lawmakers can reach a deal and avoid a shutdown the length of one in 2013, which lasted 16 days.
Each federal agency has a contingency plan for a shutdown that is written with help from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. But the impact of the shutdown, which began at midnight when the Senate failed to pass a short-term spending bill, is likely to trickle down gradually as agencies work to mitigate the effects.
About half of the Department of Health and Human Services will be placed on furlough. Beneficiaries of programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid will still receive services. The Food and Drug Administration, however, will take a hit, as it will have to halt activities like food safety inspections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue “immediate response work” on influenza, according to White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney.
The National Park Service (NPS) will keep parks open, unlike in 2013, though much of its staff will not report to work. Services such as trash pickup and restroom cleaning will be halted, according to the NPS contingency plan for a shutdown.
Cybersecurity will remain a priority during the shutdown, as the government will continue to protect information technology systems, Mulvaney said Saturday at a press conference.
The Environmental Protection Agency will largely stay open during the government's closure, and the Labor Department will resume mine safety inspections.
Military personnel will be required to show up for work, but will not receive pay for as long as the shutdown lasts. Families of slain military members will experience a halt to death benefits as a result of the shutdown.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel will continue operations, meaning travelers will see both TSA employees and canines operating in airports. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) management of air traffic control will also continue. Flight delays are not expected and much of the FAA's safety inspections will continue.
The government closure, a result of Congress’s failed negotiations over a spending bill the last several weeks, has sparked both intraparty battles and fights between Democrats and Republicans.
The two parties have each tried to cast blame on the other for the shutdown, with the Republican National Committee invoking the hashtag #SchumerShutdown, referring to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Democrats say President Trump is to blame for the closure, which follows failed talks over immigration and health-care funding.
What happens next depends on whether lawmakers reach a deal, as members of both the House and Senate have remained in Washington, D.C., to work toward an agreement to open the government.
Leaders in opposing parties on Saturday appear to be at odds over a short-term resolution to fund the government. Both chambers returned to Capitol Hill on Saturday afternoon to work toward a solution.