Saturday, September 30, 2023

VOA News: Explainer: Government Shutdown

VOA News: Explainer: Government Shutdown

How can the world's largest economy be facing a government shutdown and be unable to pay its workers? 

Well, that's the question many inside and outside the United States are asking.

The new fiscal year begins October 1st.

Prior to that, Congress must pass appropriation bills to fund federal government programs and keep the country running. 

But a group of Republican lawmakers has threatened to oppose any bill that does not also address their political priorities including deep spending cuts, increased border security, reducing Aid to Ukraine, and even the impeachment of President Joe Biden.

Since the anti-deficiency ACT prohibits government spending without authorization by Congress, failure to pass these bills before a September 30th deadline would result in a partial government shutdown.

During a shutdown, the federal government ceases all non-mandatory spending.

Many federal employees, who are not considered essential workers, are furloughed. 

This stops many day-to-day functions including food and safety inspection, running national parks, and processing benefits and grants.

Essential programs and services, such as defense, border security, air traffic control, and energy maintenance, can often continue running under contingency plans.

But even those will be affected in their ability to pay workers and plan ahead.

Aside from directly affecting thousands of federal employees, a shutdown will dent growth of the economy by about 0.2 percent weekly until the shutdown ends.

The last government shutdown lasted five weeks and cost an estimated three billion dollars in GDP because affected services include everything from Visa applications to reviews of foreign investment. 

The impact would be felt globally.

While shutdowns lasting more than one business day were relatively rare until the 1990s, the past decade has seen two extended shutdowns with the longest again the most recent lasting 35 days.

(Punctuation added by uscitizenpod. Contact your US reps and express your opinion

(Thanks to the staff of VOA News for their outstanding reportage!) 

Also read: What Happens to Immigration if US Government Shuts Down?

USCIS 100:23. Name your U.S. Representative. Question 23 Audio (MP3, 422.83 KB)

  • Answers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or Resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in Congress.]

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