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Government Shutdown Gallery of Horrors

The White House today produced Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget Jeff Zients to list for you the bad things that will happen if the government shuts down.

An effort to be informative, but also setting the stage for the blame game to come if a shutdown occurs.

Most polls show both sides will get the blame. President Obama will be rejecting a Republican attempt to keep the government open with his threat today to veto a continuing resolution keeping operations up and running for another week. On the other hand, the president has the Big Bully Pulpit, and a much better PR opportunity than House Speaker John Boehner to assign fault.

Anyway, here’s Zients’ description of the a future that could begin Friday at Midnight.

Let me give some specific examples on what would be closed versus what would be open.  As to what would be closed, the Federal Housing Administration — FHA — would not endorse any single-family mortgage loans or have staff available to process and approve new multi-family loans.  FHA single-family lending represents a market share of more than 20 percent of overall loan volume of home purchases and refinancings.

There would be no new approvals of SBA-guaranteed loans for business working capital, real estate investment or job-creation activities.

National parks, national forests, and the Smithsonian Institution would all be closed.

The NIH Clinical Center will not take new patients, and no new clinical trials will start.

Those filing paper tax returns would not receive tax refunds from the IRS, and many taxpayers would not be able to receive service from the IRS to help them meet their tax obligations.  For example, the 400 walk-in service centers would all be closed.

Permits and other approvals will not be processed, such as permits and clearances the EPA issues to allow building projects to proceed.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration would not be able to conduct regular safety and health inspections.  Only emergency passport services would be open.  Normal processing will not.  Most of the veteran benefits customer support services would be suspended.

Most Department of Defense budget planning in preparation would cease and military personnel will not receive paychecks during a funding lapse.

Customer service will be significantly impacted across the federal government.  For instance, if you have a question about your Social Security check or Medicare reimbursement, it may be very difficult to get an answer.  Throughout the government, websites and online services will be shut down or at limited functionality.

As to some of the activities that will continue if there’s a shutdown, the FAA would keep the air traffic control system open and safe.  FEMA disaster operations would continue.  Social Security checks will be sent to beneficiaries.  National Weather Service alerts and forecasts, as well as volcano and earthquake monitoring by other agencies, would continue.

U.S. Postal Service would continue mail collection, delivery, and other operations.  Custom and Border Protection activity would continue.  Military operations in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq would continue.  NASA satellite missions currently in operation would continue.  SNAP, or what’s better known as food stamps and other child nutrition benefits would continue.  Most federal student aid operations would continue.  Core federal law enforcement such as FBI and U.S. Marshals would continue, as would prison and detention operations.

Under questioning, Zients indicated that those who don’t get paid during the shutdown will likely be reimbursed once the standoff is over, as they were during the 1995 shutdown.

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4 Responses to Government Shutdown Gallery of Horrors

  1. Aha! They’re afraid that Americans will find out we can get along with just those departments and services that will continue in case of a shutdown.
    The Feds shouldn’t be in the mortgage business, the states with mining concerns have their own inspectors, it’s not safe to travel outside the USA anymore, the EPA is just a bunch of hippie tree-huggers, nobody likes the IRS and the Federal tourist attractions will still be there when this is over.
    Shut it down.

  2. It seems like inconveniences rather then life and death situations. The one important area is the military families. I think if the word went out private aid could be found to help these families in the short run. The military credit unions could help with short term loans for housing.

  3. More importantly, who WILL continue to be paid? Until paychecks are held from Congress, Senate and Bam’s chef, chauffeur and pilots, the list can continue to grow, as far as I’m concerned! Do agree though, that military families should be paid long before any of the others.