(CBS Charlotte) — For the first time in 17 years, Congress could not come to an agreement about how to fund the government — before the midnight deadline.
Throughout the disagreement on how to fund the government, a partial government shutdown seemed inevitable — as Republicans and Democrats continued their ever-popular game of “failure to play nice.” At the end of the night, whether they agreed or disagreed, one thing was certain — the members of Congress will continue to generate salaries regardless of if they came to a decision or not.
And as last night’s deadline passed, it became clear that our nation faced a partial government shutdown. While there is a lot of confusion about what a government shutdown actually entails, the underlying issue remains — how will the government shutdown affect you?
The truth is, unless you are a government employee, are applying for a Visa or Passport, are a Veteran applying for new benefits, receive food through an elderly program, are applying for a government assisted loan/mortgage, receive WIC, or are planning to visit a National Park — the partial shutdown will have minimal effects on your day-to-day life. However, the longer the shutdown continues … the more Americans will feel the impact.
The Government Shutdown of 2013
If you had a trip planned to a National Park, Zoo, or Museum, it’s time to change your plans. All are closed until an agreement is reached. However, if you are planning to travel out of the country, and have already received your passport, you have nothing to worry about. Individuals still waiting to receive passports, or those applying for a passport, may experience delays. For domestic flights, air traffic controllers will continue to do their jobs, as will airport screeners.
Federal employees who are not part of critical services are on holiday until Congress comes to an agreement. While their pay may be delayed, there is a good chance they will still be paid for their time off — eventually.
One of the main issues at the middle of the Republican/Democrat disagreement is Obamacare — and guess what: while Republicans have been pushing to defund the program in exchange for funding the government, Obamacare will continue as planned during the shutdown.
If you are applying for a new government loan, such as a federal loan, business loan, or home loan, or are in need of benefits, the process may be delayed. For individuals already receiving benefits, you should still continue to receive your benefits, without delay. However, WIC, a nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children, may not be funded during the shutdown, and elderly people who receive food from nutrition grants will likely go without food – but food stamps and social security benefits would continue to be received without delay.
The government is still elated to take your money, shutdown or no shutdown. However, if you need to ask the IRS a question — we wish you well with that. During the shutdown, taxpayer services are suspended.
Food Safety/Health Inspections
Most health and food safety inspections will cease — unless there is a major recall on a food product or unless you find a finger in your bowl of chili.
Mail through the United States Postal Service will continue without delay, and Postal workers will continue to receive pay.
-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte