Government shutdown: Everything you need to know

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

The U.S. government shut down at midnight after Congress failed to resolve a partisan standoff over immigration and spending.

In a late-night vote, Senate Democrats joined to block a bill that would have kept the government running for another four weeks. A flurry of last-minute negotiations failed to beat the deadline.

Democrats have tried to use the Friday night funding deadline to win concessions from Republicans, including an extension of an Obama-era program protecting some young immigrants from deportation. The program is set to expire in March. Republicans sought more time for talks, but Democrats refused.

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The shutdown is only the fourth government closure in a quarter-century. It will only partially curb government operations. Uniformed service members, health inspectors, and law enforcement officers are set to work without pay.

"Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy," President Trump tweeted Friday evening.

While negotiations on a temporary spending bill, called a continuing resolution, are ongoing, House Republican leaders said late Wednesday that they lacked the votes to prevent a shutdown, but that they are pressing members to back Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), on the  temporary spending bill.

What happens when the government “shuts down?” Here’s what to expect:

First, a government shutdown doesn’t mean the government completely shuts down. Employees and services deemed “essential” would remain in place. About half of the federal employee workforce, however, could be furloughed – sent home without pay.

Government agencies shut down because of the lack of a bill that funds services those agencies provide.

What is a continuing resolution?
A continuing resolution, or "CR," is legislation that funds government operations at the current spending level. In normal years, a bill that funds government operations is signed by Oct. 1, which is the end of the fiscal year. That didn't happen this year.

CRs can fund the government for days, weeks or months. The CR that could be considered Thursday would fund the government through Feb. 16.

Here is a list of services and how they would be affected if a CR is not passed by Friday night:

Air travel
Air travel would not be affected as federal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and Transportation Security Administration screeners would remain in place.

Federal court
For about two weeks, federal courts would continue operating normally. After that time, the judiciary would have to furlough employees not considered essential.

Food safety
The Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls. Most routine safety inspections would be halted.

Health
Patients in the National Institutes of Health would continue to be treated. New patients would not be accepted until a funding bill is in place.

International travel 
You could still get a passport and visa applications would still be processed by the State Department. Fees collected when someone applies for a visa or a passport fund those services.

Loans 
The Federal Housing Administration, the agency that guarantees about 30 percent of all American home mortgages, wouldn't be able to underwrite or approve any new loans during a shutdown, causing a delay for those using one of those loans to purchase a home.

The mail
You would still get mail, as the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars for everyday operations.

Military
Active-duty military personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed.

National parks
All national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums. Visitors in overnight campgrounds in national parks would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.

School lunches, SNAP and WIC
School breakfasts and lunches funded by the federal government would not be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, could be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which used to be called the Food Stamp Program, would continue to be funded and SNAP benefits would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.

Science
The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather.

Social Security
Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would be paid, but new applications for those payments could be delayed.

Veterans services
Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs would continue.

Sources: The Associated Press; Politicothe Congressional Research Service