What is a federal government shutdown?
A federal government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass a spending bill before the end of the fiscal year (September 30). This means that there is no money to fund most federal government operations, and many federal employees are furloughed (temporarily laid off). Essential services, such as law enforcement and public safety, continue to operate.
How does a federal government shutdown happen?
The federal government budget is divided into 12 appropriations bills, one for each month of the fiscal year. Congress is responsible for passing these bills before the start of each fiscal year. If Congress fails to pass a spending bill for a particular month, the government will shut down on the first day of that month.
What is the impact of a federal government shutdown?
Federal government shutdowns can have a significant impact on the economy and on the lives of Americans. Shutdowns can:
- Disrupt essential services, such as passport processing and airport inspections
- Delay the processing of Social Security and veterans benefits
- Close national parks and museums
- Reduce economic growth
- Lead to the furlough of millions of federal employees
How much does a federal government shutdown cost?
The cost of federal government shutdowns is difficult to quantify. However, a 2019 study by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the 2018-2019 shutdown cost the U.S. economy $11 billion.
How to prevent federal government shutdowns
The best way to prevent federal government shutdowns is for Congress to pass a spending bill before the end of the fiscal year. This can be challenging, especially when Congress is divided between the two major political parties. However, it is important for members of Congress to work together to avoid the negative consequences of a shutdown.
What to do if there is a federal government shutdown
If there is a federal government shutdown, there are a few things you can do:
- Stay informed about the status of essential services and benefits
- Contact your elected officials and urge them to end the shutdown
- Make contingency plans in case your job or essential services are disrupted
Here are some additional tips for preparing for a federal government shutdown:
- Make sure you have enough savings to cover your living expenses for several weeks.
- Stock up on essential supplies, such as food, medicine, and gasoline.
- Have a backup plan for childcare or eldercare in case essential services are disrupted.
- Contact your creditors and let them know about your situation if you are worried about making payments.
Here are some additional tips for surviving a federal government shutdown:
- Stay informed about the status of essential services and benefits. You can do this by visiting the websites of the relevant government agencies or by following them on social media.
- Be patient and understanding. It may take longer to get things done during a shutdown.
- Be prepared to help others. Many people are affected by shutdowns, so it is important to come together and support each other.
Federal government shutdowns can have a significant negative impact on the economy and on the lives of Americans. It is important for Congress to work together to avoid shutdowns and to ensure that the federal government is able to operate effectively.