The government partially shut down at midnight on Friday after the House and Senate were unable to agree on a solution to President Donald Trump’s demand for $5 billion to build a wall on the southern border.
Trump repeatedly blamed Democrats for the impasse, even tweeting a video late Friday saying, ”We’re going to have a shutdown.” Earlier that day, White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and Jared Kushner, bargained with congressional leaders at the Capitol — something Trump, who previously declared he would be “proud” to shut the government down over the wall, has been unwilling to do.
The House and Senate were unable to come to a resolution during talks on Saturday, and the Senate will reconvene after Christmas, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
This is the third shutdown in two years. About 800,000 federal employees are affected, and funding for nine out of 15 cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies has expired. Here’s how it affects certain parts of the government — and you:
About 420,000 of the affected employees, including Border Patrol and Transportation Security Administration agents, are considered “essential” and will work unpaid through the holidays, while 380,000 are furloughed, which means they will stay at home and not earn pay. This includes 96% of NASA employees, according to the agency’s shutdown plan.
However, the Senate passed legislation to ensure workers receive back pay, which the House is likely to approve, AP reports.
The U.S. Postal Service is not affected by the shutdown, as it is considered an independent agency — meaning you will still receive all your holiday packages. Similarly, troops will remain on duty and entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and food stamps will continue.
Most of the Department of Homeland Security will stay open. The TSA’s airline screeners and security officers will continue to work, so air travel and security operations will not be disrupted over the holiday period.
Over at the State Department, visa and passport services will remain “as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations,” a spokesperson told the New York Times.
The Agriculture Department will continue to inspect food, including anything certified for export, and 85% of the Justice Department will continue to work without pay, according to its shutdown plan. The Departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, and Interior will see workers furloughed, while 34,600 Transportation Department employees will continue to work.
About 80% of the Interior Department’s employees face immediate furloughs. Most parks will will remain open without staff, according to the department’s 2018 plan, but there will likely be confusion regarding which parks are open. Facilities including bathrooms may be shuttered, and both wildlife and visitors will face a lack of protections. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the Grand Canyon will remain open, and the Smithsonian Museum said it has the funding to stay open until January 1. Ungated monuments at the National Mall will be accessible, and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island remain open thanks to funding from New York state.
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