Jan 19 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress are racing to meet a midnight Friday deadline to pass a short-term bill to keep the U.S. government open and prevent agencies from shutting down.
In shutdowns, government employees are vulnerable to furlough, or temporary unpaid leave. Other “essential” workers, including those dealing with public safety and national security, keep working, some with and others without pay.
The last shutdown in October 2013 lasted more than two weeks. More than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed. Here is what happened then and some recent updates from officials:
MILITARY: The Defense Department said on Friday that a shutdown would not impact the U.S. military’s war in Afghanistan or its operations against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria. All military personnel on active duty would remain on normal duty status but would not be paid for the shutdown period until Congress makes appropriated funds available. Civilian personnel in non-essential operations would be furloughed.
In the last shutdown, military personnel continued on normal duty status but about half of the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian employees were placed on unpaid leave. Nearly all were recalled one week into the shutdown after the Defense Department implemented the Pay Our Military Act, which had recently been passed by Congress.
JUSTICE: If a shutdown happens at midnight, the Justice Department, with many “essential” workers, has a shutdown contingency plan, under which about 95,000 of the department’s almost 115,000 staff would keep working.
FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT: The stock market-policing Securities and Exchange Commission funds itself by collecting fees from the financial industry but its budget is set by Congress. It has said in the past it would be able to continue operations temporarily in a shutdown. But it would have to furlough workers if Congress went weeks before approving new funding.
If a shutdown happens, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would have to furlough 95 percent of its employees immediately. An agency spokeswoman said the derivatives regulator could call in additional staff, however, in the event of financial market emergency.
NATIONAL PARKS: In 2013, national parks closed and overnight visitors had two days to depart, resulting in a loss of 750,000 daily visitors, said the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association. The National Park Service estimated the shutdown cost $500 million in lost visitor spending in areas around the parks and the Smithsonian museums.
WASHINGTON TOURIST SIGHTS: Popular tourist sites such as the Smithsonian closed, with barricades going up at the Lincoln Memorial, the Library of Congress and the National Archives. The National Zoo closed and its popular “Panda Cam” went dark.
TAXES: The Internal Revenue Service furloughed 90 percent of its staff, said the liberal Center for American Progress. About $4 billion in tax refunds were delayed as a result, according to the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB.
MAIL DELIVERY: Deliveries continued as usual because the U.S. Postal Service gets no tax dollars for day-to-day operations.
TRAVEL: Air and rail travelers did not feel a big impact because security officers and air traffic controllers remained at work. Passport processing continued with some delays.
COURTS: Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, remained open. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has said federal courts could continue to operate normally for about three weeks without additional funding.
HEALTHCARE: Sign-ups for the newly created Obamacare health insurance exchanges began as scheduled. The Medicare health insurance program for the elderly continued largely without disruption. A program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track flu outbreaks was temporarily halted. Hundreds of patients could not enroll in National Institutes of Health clinical trials, according to the OMB.
CHILDREN: Six Head Start programs in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina serving about 6,300 children shut for nine days.
SOCIAL SECURITY: Social Security and disability checks were issued with no change in payment dates and field offices remained open but offered limited services. There were delays in the review process for new applicants.
LOANS: Processing of mortgages and other loans was delayed when lenders could not access government services such as income and Social Security number verification. The Small Business Administration was unable to process about 700 applications for $140 million in loans until the shutdown ended.
VETERANS: Department of Veterans Affairs services continued, including the operation of VA hospitals.
FOOD INSPECTIONS: Department of Agriculture meat inspectors stayed on the job. Agricultural statistical reports ceased publication. The USDA’s website went dark. (Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago, Amanda Becker, Sarah N. Lynch and Mary Milliken in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney and Bill Trott)