Government Shutdown is All Systems Go
Update October 1, 12:01 a.m. - As of midnight the deadline for a government shutdown has passed. Late Monday night the House of Representatives passed its third funding resolution to keep the government open. Like both previous, Monday night's resolution came with language targeting the Affordable Care Act, in this case delaying enforcement of the individual mandate by one year. The Senate rejected this bill and reiterated that it would reject any funding resolution that defunds or delays the ACA. Without last minute action by Congress, the shutdown will begin at 8:00 a.m. today.
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) The government will probably shut down at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
That's the situation as of Sunday morning, when House Republicans passed a bill to fund the federal government through December that also requires a one year delay of the Affordable Care Act . Senate Democrats and President Obama have consistently refused to negotiate over the ACA in exchange for keeping the government open, and House Republicans insist they won't pass funding legislation without doing so.
The result is an impasse that is unlikely to break before Tuesday, when the new fiscal year begins and the Treasury Department runs out of authority to spend more money.
CSPAN aside, how will this effect you? Here are some of the most common services consumers use every day and their plans for a shutdown. These are only plans however, and could change if days turn into weeks.
But First, What's Going On?
The federal government runs on budgets and appropriations bills, which authorize its agencies to spend money. This authority covers basic operational costs such as salaries, electricity and rent. Even booting up a computer or having someone show up for work costs money, since you owe someone for every step of the way.
On October 1 the new fiscal year begins, and the current appropriations bill will run out. Past that point, new legislation is required. Without authority to spend, the government will have to shut down.
Under ordinary circumstances when the parties can't agree on a budget, they pass a continuing resolution, a bill to sustain government funding at existing levels. This time, however, Congressional Republicans have seized the opportunity as part of their three year war against Obamacare. Conservative leaders have announced that they won't pass any bill that doesn't delay or defund the program, while Democrats refuse to negotiate over President Obama's signature achievement in exchange for keeping the government open, leading to the current impasse.
The Post Office
The Post Office is mostly self-funded and a government shutdown only impacts agencies that rely on money from the United States Treasury. Even though this is a federal agency, the mail will still go out largely as normal. Some behind the scenes services will be effected, such as the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Office of the Inspector General , but few consumers will see a difference.