Every year for the past few years we have come to the end of September with the two parties struggling to get a federal budget approved before there is a threat to shut down the government. The last time the threat was real was 17 years ago, but it doesn’t look promising that we will avoid it this year. All this because the people in Washington cannot act like responsible adults.
Here is one of the latest reports from USA Today on the squabbling and impasses that are mucking up the process. In all of the rhetoric, there is little that is about the welfare of the country and the common man, it is all a power struggle between the two leading parties.
I was curious as to what will happen if the powers that be fail to come to agreement, and I found this on CBS News online:
If the government shuts down, programs deemed “essential” — traffic control, airport security, Medicare and food inspections, for example — will continue to run. But as many as 800,000 federal employees considered “non-essential,” including about half of the Defense Department’s civilian employees, will be furloughed, with no guarantee of back-pay.
About 20 of the 1,600 national Head Start programs would feel the impact instantly: Grants expiring Oct. 1 would not be renewed, and over time, more programs could be affected. And the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which provides food and health care referrals to pregnant women and mothers, could be shut down.
Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits would likely be held up, since there would be fewer workers to process them. Passport and visa applications could be put on hold, as well as small business and home mortgage lending programs. National parks around the country and Smithsonian museums would be closed.
While monuments in Washington, D.C., would also be closed, the U.S. Capitol building would remain open. Congress is exempted from the furloughs, though some lawmakers have threatened to protest that rule.
Emphasis mine, as I think it is deplorable that the people who got us into this mess will continue to get paid.