At midnight on October 1, 2013 a federal government shutdown went into effect. Certain federal programs and activities will come to a standstill until a new spending deal is in place.
While some programs will continue to run. Government personnel are basically split up into those considered essential and non-essential.
The impact of the shutdown will reach the National Parks, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management . National landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument will be denied to visitors. Passport offices will be closed. The Library of Congress is closed to the public. Federally funded museums, such as the Smithsonian will be closed as well. The Centers for Disease Control website posted a statement saying that they will not be updating materials posted on the site and the agency may not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted due to the lapse of funding.
Many states are facing closing down WIC programs for new clients. While Arkansas, was planning to furlough its employees and stop providing new WIC vouchers to recipients. The Arkansas Department of Health reached a deal with the USDA who stated it will prop up Arkansas’ program on a week-by-week basis. WIC, provides healthy-food vouchers, nutrition education and breastfeeding support to poor women and their children. In August, the WIC program in Arkansas served 23,595 infants, 42,105 children and 2,039 women. Of those women, 10,725 are pregnant and 2,760 were breastfeeding.
“If the federal government shutdown occurs and funding stops, it will greatly hinder the ability of the Arkansas Department of Human Services to investigate claims of child abuse and neglect. “As many as 2,000 state employees will be furloughed, with thousands more facing a similar fate if the shutdown is sustained. Losing these jobs affects not only those working Arkansans and their families, it also hurts our local and state economies. That economic damage will be compounded by the furlough of federal employees in Arkansas, as well.”
The activities that will carry on during the shutdown are the United States Postal Service will deliver the mail, National Weather Service meteorologists will continue to forecast the weather. The military will continue to fight. Social Security checks will continue to be paid though delays might happen if this stretches on. Arkansas State Park campgrounds will remain open. Anything related to national security, public safety, or programs written into permanent law will continue. The President and members of Congress are also exempt from furlough.
The shutdown could cost the U.S. 300 million dollars a day in lost economic output.
The last shutdown that lasted from Dec. 16, 1995, to Jan. 6, 1996, ranks as the longest in U.S. history.
On the White House website you can view the contingency plans for agencies across the Federal Government. http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans