Government shutdown: What it means

Photo courtesy of U.S. Capitol Flickr


The government has shut down for the first time in nearly two decades, leaving Americans wondering about the exact short- and long-term effects.

The shutdown resulted from a congressional stalemate over the federal budget.

The Republican-led House tried to defund and delay the Affordable Care Act, but the Democratic-controlled Senate refused to accept a bill that would derail “Obamacare.”

“This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don’t have it.” President Barack Obama said. “Don’t wait. Don’t delay. Don’t put our economy or our people through this any longer.”

Any employee or office that provides national security and conducts activities essential to the national security or the safety of life and property will remain open and working. This includes the U.S. military, air traffic controllers, prison guards, emergency personnel and border patrol agents. However, more than 800,000 federal workers are left without jobs temporarily. Also, intercollegiate athletic competitions at service academies – Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard – are suspended.

“This is a sad moment in our nation’s history where a band of Tea Party ideological extremists and their co-conspirators have shutdown the United States government,” said Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries. “Throughout America, this shutdown will needlessly hurt children, civil servants who will be furloughed without pay, veterans who courageously served our country, seniors and countless others.”

Due to the government shutdown all National Park facilities, including more than 400 national zoos, museums and parks, will be closed. Twenty-two national parks in New York will be closed including the Statue of Liberty, Gateway National Recreational Area and other facilities.

The United States Postal Service will still deliver mail and Social Security benefits will still be paid. Federal courts will remain open and are expected to continue operating normally for 10 business days after the shutdown begins. Airports will also remain open, with Transportation Security Administration security rules remaining intact.

Despite the shutdown Congressmember Grace Meng said she will keep her offices in Flushing and Forest Hills open.

“With the government closed down, constituents will rely on us more than ever, and my staff and I will continue to be there for them during what will likely be a challenging time for our community and country,” Meng said.

Ironically, the government shutdown will not affect the Affordable Care Act. The Health Care Marketplace, which compiles and rates insurance offerings in each state, started accepting applications on Tuesday, October 1.