If the government were to shut down, what services and agencies would remain open?

The military, air traffic control and various law enforcement agencies are the obvious ones, at least if the 1995 shutdown is any indication. And the postal service I imagine would also soldier on. What are some other government operations that, by necessity, would have to keep running?

During a government shut down, non essential staff stay home.


So in the case of say, air traffic control, I assume that would mean all the air traffic controllers would remain on the job, but HR personnel, clerks, analysts and various other types of paper shufflers that work for air traffic control,as well folks like cleaning staff, would just stay home.

My naturalization oath ceremony scheduled for two weeks time would be shut down. :dubious:

That would be annoying, since they only come round once a month here, but only a temporary delay. Since its done under the auspices of the Federal Court system and judged non-essential it will be put on hold. That does lead into the exception to the “non-essential” rule: things that are not funded from the regular budget may not necessarily be effected. For example, if they were still processing my citizenship case that processing wouldn’t necessarily be delayed because USCIS case processing is typically funded from the fees that would be immigrants pay when filing their cases. However if USCIS required interaction with another federal agency, for example the Department of Labor if you were petitioning for a work status, there could be delays.

Great idea to reduce the deficit. This was in a Dilbert cartoon. During a snowstorm the pointy-haired boss announced that only essential personnel were to report to work. Then he said, “Lay off anybody who doesn’t show up.”

This article has a pretty good general rundown:

Government shutdown details begin trickling out to workers.

This is awesome. We’ve booked a four day trip to Washington DC with the kids, and if there’s a shutdown everything will be closed.

I know you’re joking, but in reality the threat of a shut down is quite expensive. Instead of routine budgeting, government money has been trickling down piece meal increasing administrative expenses during the various CRs. An actual shut down will cost even more.

Not even counting the effect of morale.

If the government shuts down, would military personnel, air traffic controllers, law enforcement officers and other “essential” workers still get regular paychecks, or would all their pay be deferred until the government opened back up.

This is in addition to the fact that after returning to work, the employees who were not working will receive their full pay for those days on which they didn’t work, which means a shutdown can’t possibly save any money. Seems shocking to the average taxpayer, but as I understand it, this is a rule stipulated by the union that says federal employees can’t be furloughed without advance notice; it makes it harder for federal employees to be used as pawns in all the political bullshit that’s going on.

As a federal employee with adequate savings, I’m looking forward to the prospect of a few extra days of vacation next week. However, as a taxpayer, you’re right, this will be a major facepalm moment if it comes to pass.

No, they have to show up to work, but don’t get paid (though they do get back-pay once the shutdown is over). Which is why these things don’t last long, the image of soldiers and FBI agents getting shot at without getting paid isn’t particularly appealing to the public.

The two-part shutdown in November/December 1995 lasted a total of 27 days.

I don’t think it’s necessarily true that workers will be paid after the gov’t shutdown ends. I know they were paid in the past, but that is no guarantee that they will be paid this time, and with the increased focus on this budget battle, I have my doubts about re-imbursement.

There are two issues. Paying the people who do work, and paying the people who don’t work.

They will have to pay the people who did work after the appropriations bills are passed.

They have also paid the ones who didn’t work in the past, and may or may not this time.

If your govt. shuts down, why do you keep one? Why not abandon the pretense and sell everything to the private market openly?

How sure are you about this? The latest I’ve read (sorry, I can’t find the link) is that all essential employees will enter into a non-pay status and that there is nothing forcing the gov’t to give the workers back pay.

Nevermind… I just read where the workers will get paid eventually.(http://blogs.federaltimes.com/federal-times-blog/2011/04/06/opm-employees-who-work-during-shutdown-will-be-paid-eventually/)

Well, Congress itself still gets paid. They even get to designate certain of the aids in their offices as ‘essential’ workers, so they can get paid.

Will they actually continue to receive regular paychecks, though, or will their pay be deferred like with all the other “essential” workers?