Shutdown in America ? Deadline tonight at midnight (from Washington, DC)

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South façade of the White House, the executive...

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Here I invite you to understand how we can describe what a Government shutdown would looks like :

  1. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington would close.
  2. Operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq and Japan would not be affected. Military personnel would not receive paychecks — although they would continue to earn salaries — because the government will not have any money to pay out during the period of a shutdown.
  3. Based on the last federal government shutdown, from December 16, 1995 until January 6, 1996, about 800,000 federal workers would be furloughed, including a « significant number » of civilian contractors working for the Defense Department, the White House says.
  4. Social Security and Medicare benefits for the elderly will continue to be paid. But helplines will not be staffed.
  5. Unlike the last two shutdowns, both of which occurred in the 1990s, this one would take place during tax preparation and filing season. That would delay tax refunds to Americans who filed a paper — rather than electronic — tax return, which covers about 30 percent of the total number of returns. Electronic tax collection and refunds would continue. IRS tax audits would be suspended.
  6. The U.S. Postal Service would not be affected.
  7. National parks like Yosemite and national forests would close.
  8. Law enforcement, FBI, prison guards, Customs and border protection, U.S. marshals, and any services deemed essential for the safety of lives and the protection of property would not be affected.
  9. During the last shutdown, an estimated 200,000 applications for U.S. passports went unprocessed.
  10. Also during the last shutdown, work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases was suspended.
  11. The distribution of food stamps and other child nutrition benefits, would not be affected.
  12. The Federal Housing Administration would not be able to endorse any single-family mortgage loans or have staff available to process and approve new multifamily loans. The White House says that as FHA single-family lending represents more than 20 percent of the overall loan volume of home purchases and refinancings, this would be a hard hit on the housing market.
  13. New patients would not be accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, although clinical trials already in progress would continue.
  14. Other essential services would include air traffic controllers and federal disaster operations, as well as national weather and earthquake-monitoring operations. These would not be affected. Also, any federal service with an alternative source of funding than annual congressional appropriations, like fees or operations financed through multiyear appropriations.


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