What Will Follow the American Federal Government Shutdown?

American Federal Government

Both legislative Houses in the US Capitol have failed to pass a stopgap measure that would see the federal government funded until March 22 this year. The government is meant to shut down its operations on the midnight of Thursday. If the House and the Senate move quickly in the early morning hours of Friday, the shutdown may only be for a short period of time which could possibly end before the start of the following work week. In the event that the US government has shut down its operations, there are some consequences that are likely to accrue.

In such a shutdown, federal employees who are considered non-essential are usually put on an unpaid leave temporarily or furloughed. Federal workers who are considered essential such as those in the departments of national security and public safety continue working with or without pay. Congress has in the past passed legislation after previous shutdowns that ensure that both non-essential and essential federal workers receive retroactive pay. A standoff between lawmakers from both parties on issues of immigration and government spending levels which resulted in a shut down that lasted for three days which was mostly over the weekend last month.

In 2013, there was a shutdown that lasted for approximately two weeks which resulted in the furloughing of more than 800,000 workers of the federal government. During a sustained shutdown for an extended period of time, the Defense Department has said that it will not affect the military operations in the Middle East including the Afghan War and The War against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. All troops on active duty would have their active duty status retained even in the event that funding has not been approved by Congress. Civilian employees in the Defence Department who are considered non-essential would be furloughed.

However, according to a report that was released by the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, A continued impasse in federal funding would result in aircrafts carriers that do not undergo their regular overhaul or combat aircraft that is grounded due to lack of having a battle-ready status. The Department of Justice has more than 80% of its employees regarded as essential workers. In case of a prolonged shutdown, only 20,000 workers out of the total 115,000 would be furloughed. Over 90% of the employees who work for the Internal Revenue Service are considered to be non-essential employees and were furloughed during the 2013 shutdown. As a result, there is estimated to be a Tax funds delay valued at $4 billion.

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