With the passing of every hour, the probability of a federal government shutdown over the current budget impasse grows ever likelier. In the event of a shutdown, the federal government does not actually stop functioning entirely. Activities and employees deemed "excepted" (in 1995, the terminology used was "essential") to keeping the nation safe and operational continue.
How will you be affected? Here are a few things you may or may not know:
- If you’re planning to visit DC for your kids’ spring break, you can see the cherry blossoms, but the Smithsonian will be closed. No Kermit, no Ruby Slippers, no Space Shuttle.
- Your taxes are still due by April 18, but the IRS will be closed so your refund may be delayed.
- Afraid to fly? Never fear, air traffic controllers and TSA agents are excepted.
- The National Zoo’s famous pandas will still get fed, but you can’t get in to see them.
- Planning to visit Paris in the springtime? Better have your passport. New requests will be suspended.
- Members of our nation’s military will still be paid, but outside contractors and trainers will not.
- Veterans services will not be affected. Annual Veterans appropriations are funded in advance.
- Federal judges are excepted, but court employees are not. What about your right to a fair and speedy trial?
- Thousands of government blackberries will go dark, or federal employees using them during the shutdown face punishment for working during the furlough.
- National Parks from Yellowstone to Independence Hall will be shuttered. (Visit the National Constitution Center instead!)
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters, this shutdown affects you and me. The inability of our nation’s leaders to pass a budget impacts everyone. The national Constitution Center encourages active and engaged citizenship. To make your voice heard, click here, follow the links below under "Take Action," or tweet your concern using the #shutdown hashtag.