What will be affected by a government shutdown? - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

What will be affected by a government shutdown?

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

There are close to 3 million government workers and most of them are considered "essential," but several hundred thousand federal employees will be forced to stay home if a government shutdown happens.

We don't know exactly what will happen until it actually takes effect. The last time the government shut down was late 1995 into 1996. It lasted for 21 days and cost the country $1.4 billion.

Here's the basics of what you need to know in the event of a shutdown:

  • You will still get your Social Security check.
  • The mail will still come.
  • The military men and women will still fight.
  • If you need a federal loan for your house or business, if you want a gun permit, if you need a passport or want to visit a national park, that will not be possible until the government is back up and running.
  • Many federal offices and programs would be closed: like the EPA, most of the Department of Labor and NASA.
  • The 368 National Park sites, including the Smithsonian museums, will be closed.
  • Some federal contractors' projects could be delayed if they need paperwork filed with the government.
  • Essential services like air traffic control, national security, border protection -- those employees will still be working.
  • The banking system, the government will still issue bonds and yes, you must still pay taxes.
  • Veteran's hospitals, federal prisons -- all would stay open.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, estimates half its 670,000 members would be furloughed, while the other half would work, but not get paid until after a deal is reached. It's not clear if furloughed workers would receive back pay once the government resumes.

The next battle Congress will have to deal with is the country's credit limit. The US is on the verge of maxing out its $16.7 trillion credit card. And President Barack Obama has to ask Congress to raise the limit.

But, like the potential government shutdown, the Affordable Care Act being used as leverage when it comes to trying to hammer out a deal.

The debt ceiling deadline is Oct. 17.

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