October 02, 2013

Government shutdown: What's still running, what's not

Credit: RNN

Credit: RNN

Posted: Oct 01, 2013 2:23 PM CDT
Updated: Oct 02, 2013 11:53 AM CDT
By RNN Staff

(RNN)– With the federal government shut down because Congress cannot agree on a spending bill, some are surprised about what services, museums and other agencies are open for business and which aren’t. By the way – Congress is still getting paid.

Here is a list of what’s closed, open, or operating with essential employees.

Aviation  – The Federal Aviation Administration is partially shut down, meaning the air traffic controllers are on the job, however, aircraft safety inspectors are furloughed employees.

Border security  – Border patrol programs, ports of entry operations, and cargo security and revenue collections will continue.

Defense – Military service members continue to work. Only Department of Defense civilians performing essential activities continue to work. The Department of Homeland Security is partly shut down. Some U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services will continue to operate. Applications, forms, wait times, and more remain either limited or available online, except for E-Verify.

The Department of Defense has many facets. Active military will remain on the job, but if the shutdown continues past Oct. 7, that could affect subsequent paychecks. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to operate, including military functions, port security, search and rescue, and maritime safety. Half of civilian military workers will be furloughed. The Nuclear Facilities Safety Board operates at full functionality.

Education – Most employees in the Department of Education are on furlough, and services including its website are curtailed. The Library of Congress as well as all presidential libraries are closed to the public. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is also closed, but its website is still operating. The Smithsonian Institution is closed to the public.

Emergency Services – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is partially shut down, but will continue to operate disaster relief operations and the National Flood Insurance Program. Non-disaster programs have been curtailed.

Energy – The Department of Energy will operate with limited personnel, meaning research projects will shut down. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board is open – but if the shutdown lasts for a while, 100 employees will be furloughed. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will shut down except for inspections and electric grid monitoring.

Employment – Staffers in the worker compensation and mine safety divisions will remain almost completely staffed. Workers in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Bureau of Labor Statistics would be mostly furloughed.

Environment  – The Environmental Protection Agency is mostly closed, but will respond to emergencies.

Federal courts  – The federal court system can operate for 10 days using reserve funds.

Financial – The Internal Revenue Service will discontinue a host operations – including audits, examination of returns and manual collections. The Federal Reserve remains open with normal staffing. The Financial Management Service (FMS) and General Services Administration (GSA) are in partial shutdown. The Federal Trade Commission is also shut down for services other than those that would prevent a threat to human life or property.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  – The Department of Education continues to accept and process FAFSA applications.

Health – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is telling more than two-thirds of its workers to stay at home, meaning potential outbreaks will not be investigated. Flu vaccines will be delivered to doctor’s offices, but the agency will not track flu cases.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is not taking new patients or initiating new clinical trials at its clinical center. However, trials that were in process before the government shutdown continue.

Health Insurance Marketplace  – Consumers can go to HealthCare.gov to find the state marketplace to serve them and can apply and choose a plan, with coverage beginning as early as Jan. 1, 2014.

Home loans  – The Federal Housing Administration is not making new home loan guarantees during the shutdown.

Jobs  – Government jobs will be available and updated on USAJobs.gov. Job applications may not be processed at advertising agencies until the government reopens.

Mail and Postal Services  – Mail services continue and post offices remain open.

Medicare and Medicaid  – Medicare and Medicaid benefits continue, though benefits could be affected in the event of an extended shutdown.

NASA – The agency is not allowing tours of its facilities, and it has shut down its TV channel and website. However, mission control support and other essential activities will continue.

Nutrition – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will continue meat and poultry safety inspections, but its website has been shut down. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the food stamps program known as SNAP, will continue for a month. However, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is open in some states and not others. WIC helps pregnant mothers and their families and affects 9 million people. Douglas Greenway, president of the National WIC Association, told the Huffington Post the USDA is helping the neediest states with contingency funds. But once those funds run out, those programs also will shut down.

The USDA will continue to monitor meat and poultry safety, however, the agency warned a prolonged shutdown “would affect the safety of human life and have serious adverse effects on the industry.” Conversely, daily inspections and lab testing for food contamination by the Food and Drug Administration is on hold because nearly half of its workers are on furlough. Workers will respond to emergency cases only.

Operating Status  – Visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the most up-to-date operating status of the federal government.

Patents and trademarks  – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office remains operational for the next few weeks using reserve funds.

Recreation – The Department of the Interior is partially closed, but it affects more than you think. The number of agencies that fall under it are myriad. Want to go to a national park or museum, such as the Smithsonian or even a presidential library? Sorry, national parks and landmarks are closed to the public.

You can’t even stay at home and watch the National Zoo “Panda Cam.” The agencies that fall under this umbrella agency include: National Park and Wildlife Refuge Systems, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey (only responding to emergencies), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Indiana Affairs (partially closed, meaning people will get their benefits, but that’s it).

The Commission of Fine Arts is closed, but the Kennedy Center will continue operations such as performances and educational activities, and its employees will continue to work.

Small business loans  – The Small Business Administration is not processing applications of business loans during the shutdown.

Social Security  – Some services will be unavailable, but Social Security payments will continue to go out.

Travel – The Transportation Security Administration continues passenger, baggage screening and operation of the Federal Air Marshal Service. Rail networks and traffic control operations will also continue. Expedited passports that were already in progress will be processed, but no new passport applications will be accepted during the shutdown. The State Department will continue to issue travel warnings and emergency services for U.S. Citizens abroad.

Veterans’ Services  – Medical services will continue to be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but benefit programs may be affected.

Weather  – The National Weather Service continues to issue weather alerts, forecasts, and warnings. The same goes for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, although research operations will cease.

Women, Infants, and Children  – Federal grants to states for assistance to low-income women, infants, and children continues.


Delta Regional Authority – Provides services to 252 counties and parishes across eight states that border the Mississippi River, will remain open using reserve funds.

The Denali Commission – Provides physical and economic support for areas in Alaska and will continue operation.

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Original article: http://www.wfsb.com/story/23581426/government-shutdown-whats-still-running-whats-not