For the third time this year, the U.S. House of Representatives is in a budget showdown that threatens to shut down the federal government.
This time, the stalemate is over whether increased disaster aid should be offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. Lawmakers now have just eight days to pass a bill to keep the government funded after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
But with no resolution in sight and the House scheduled to be in recess next week, Congressional leaders have warned that the a shutdown could be imminent. So once again federal agencies must prepare to close up shop.
Here’s a look at who and what might might suffer if Washington can’t break the gridlock.
Federal emergency disaster relief -- the crux of the current budget debate -- could actually run out by Monday, days before the shutdown deadline.
An unusual number of hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and other natural disasters have bled FEMA dry this year. But many Republicans don't want to increase funding without offsetting the cost elsewhere in the budget -- a proposal Democrats flatly reject.
Until Congress reaches an agreement, reconstruction projects in 42 states are on hold. The fund has less than $215 million -- far less than the $1 billion officials usually like to have on hand.
Uniformed personnel still serve during a shutdown but won't get paid until the government reopens. Last time this happened, House Republicans introduced a bill to pay the troops if a budget wasn't reached.
The majority of the defence Department's civilian employees will be sent home without pay, along with most workers at the State Department and USAID.
National Institute of Health's disease hotlines and CDC surveillance will stop during a shutdown. The NIH will also not accept new patients or start new clinical trials during a shutdown, although ongoing clinical trials will likely continue.
Most of the Department of Homeland Security's 230,000 workers will work (without pay), including U.S. border patrol, airport security guards and the U.S. Coast Guard. Congress would likely vote to provide retroactive pay to these workers when the government restarts.
Recruiting and training will likely be suspended.
All non-essential federal employees -- about 800,000, by union estimates -- will be furloughed if Congress can't reach a deal.
Although furloughed workers have gotten retroactive pay during the last shut down, most people predict that won't be the case this time around.
Financial regulation will virtually stop during a shutdown, according to the Office of Budget and Management. Stock broker inspections will be put on hold and federal agencies will stop receiving and handling corporate financial disclosures. Routine oversight of financial markets and most enforcement will end.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will conduct only minimal oversight of the markets.
Also, the Department of Energy will stop publishing weekly reports on U.S. oil inventories, gas prices and natural gas storage.
Some contractors could be locked out of their offices and government-funded trips will likely be cut short.
During the shutdown threat last spring, the Washington-area business community suggested contracting firms reassign projects, complete training programs or ask employees to take vacations. Some firms may be forced to furlough workers, though, and Congress is unlikely to consider retroactive pay.
Tourists that want to visit Washington monuments, the Smithsonian, or other museums on the National Mall will be sorely disappointed. The National Zoo will also close, although most zookeepers and security guards will keep their jobs.
The National Park Service lost 7 million visitors when it was forced to close 368 sites during the 1995-96 shutdown.
No matter how long the shutdown lasts, members of Congress will be reimbursed their entire salaries. But most of their staffers won't be so lucky -- aides deemed 'non-essential' will be furloughed.
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