Contact Us

Federal Government Shuts Down, No One Knows for How Long

Congress Gridlocked Over Continuing Resolution Legislation
Win McNamee / Getty Images

As of 12:01 a.m. EST on Tuesday, the federal government closed down. Congressional leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate were unable to reach an agreement on a budget or a temporary fix, known as a continuing resolution, before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.

It is the first such shutdown in 17 years. Eight hundred thousand federal employees are now on furlough, with more than a million others now being asked to work without pay.

This represents a new low point in what has been an ongoing battle between Democrats and Republicans over fiscal issues, most recently with the Republican-led House pushing for the full defunding of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as part of any budget agreement. The Democratic-led Senate rejected all House bills that attached Obamacare-related amendments, instead sending back only “clean” continuing resolutions, which would keep the government funded at current levels.

As a result of the failure to keep the government open, the White House’s Office of Management of Budget has directed all federal agencies to “execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations.”

Talks between the parties will resume Tuesday morning, but there is no obvious end date for the current impasse.

Here is a brief explainer of what will happen now:

Does the government actually shut down?

Not really. The official term is a “spending gap,” because not all government functions cease. National security operations, including the military, will continue as usual, as will air-traffic control. Social Security checks will keep going out (the Postal Service will continue too), along with veterans’ benefits and Medicare bills. The IRS will keep collecting taxes. But all “non-essential” federal employees (about 800,000) will be furloughed until a new continuing resolution or budget is passed.

So what actually will stop?

You won’t be able to go to a national park. Or any historical sites run by the federal government. Or visit the Smithsonian. But remember that this shutdown will not directly affect state governments. You can still visit state parks or go to the DMV to renew your license, but you won’t be able to do so with your passport or visa, which are under federal control.

There will be significant disruptions for almost all departments and agencies. The White House has published a list of agency contingency plans here, and USA Today has put together a detailed summary here of what and who will be affected and how.

How many times has this happened before?

This will be the 18th shutdown since 1976, when the budget process was changed. (Before then, the government stayed open but at reduced levels; it did not furlough workers.) The last shutdown ended in 1996, so we have actually been in a prolonged period of relative peace these last 17 years. From 1976-1996, the government shut down on average nearly once a year.

When will it end?

Good question. Republicans are demanding that Obamacare be delayed or entirely repealed, and Democrats are insisting on a clean bill. The president has largely remained out of the discussion, preferring to let congressional leaders handle the talks. It is their job to send him a bill, after all.

The longest shutdown on record was 21 days, but most of them don’t go past day three. The only thing that will get the government back up and running is when politicians feel enough pressure that they simply HAVE to return, at which point we’ll almost certainly see a clean continuing resolution that will last through sometime in November or December.

And then we might have to go through this whole thing all over again.

[WSJ, N.Y. Times, Washington Post]

Lammily Doll
Nickolay Lamm, YouTube
[

‘Realistic’ Barbie Doll Could Be This Holiday Season’s (Not-So) Surprise Sensation

The latest shot in the battle to make people accept and love their bodies has been fired by a doll that could very well turn the toy industry on its ear.

Read More|Comment

Category: National News, News
Facebook
Getty Images
[

Facebook’s Cool New Feature Allows You to Say ‘Thank You’ to the Special People in Your Life [VIDEO]

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and now you can celebrate the special relationships for which you're the most thankful with a cool new video feature from Facebook.

Read More|Comment

Category: Holidays Tags: ,
zbsx via YouTube.
zbsx via YouTube.
[

Chicago Radio Hosts Discover Their Show Is Cancelled Via Twitter While On Air [VIDEO]

Meet Ben Finfer and Alex Quigley, the hosts of 'Quigs and Finfer,' which airs weekday afternoons from noon-3pm on WGWG-LP The Game 87.7 FM in Chicago. Make that aired.

Read More|Comment

Category: News, Sports, Videos, Weird News
Fire
KCAL
[

Two Kids Tragically Die in House Fire While Mother Gives Birth to Third Child [VIDEO]

What should've been a magical day turned into a nightmare for one new mother.

Read More|Comment

Category: National News, News
Shopping
[

More Than 40 Chains Won’t Open on Thanksgiving Day

Some stores are opening up at 5 or 6pm on Thanksgiving Day to help you burn some calories after all the turkey and cranberries.  But others have said no, and won't open up until Black Friday.  Check out the growing list of stores that WON'T open on Thanksgiving Day.

Read More|Comment

police-lights
[

Reward Offered In Blinn College Student’s Murder

Blinn College is a small school in Brenham, about an hour and a half outside of Houston.  After a male student was murdered there last month, police are asking for tips as they try to figure out who killed him.  And there's a reward in the case now.

Read More|Comment

Category: East Texas News, News Tags:
Getty Images
Getty Images
[

Inmate Weddings Are About To Increase In Texas

Up until now, if an inmate in a Texas prison wanted to get married, someone else had to stand in for the prisoner during a ceremony held somewhere outside the prison. That's about to change.

Read More|Comment

Abby Snodgrass
WSB
[

Teen’s Miraculous Act Saves Baby Who Stopped Breathing at Walmart

A fast-acting teenager became a hero after she stepped in to save the life of a baby.

Read More|Comment

Category: News
drinking
Photo: John Lund/Annabelle Breakey
[

Where Does Texas Rank in the ‘Most Drunk’ States Survey?

The folks over at Bloomberg just released a survey of the 'Most Drunk' states in the U.S. Where did the Lone Star State wind up?

Read More|Comment

Category: East Texas News, Texas News Tags:
Le'Veon Bell, LeVeon Bell
Getty Images
[

Le’Veon Bell Leads Steelers Past Titans, 27-24

Le'Veon Bell ran for 204 yards and a touchdown, and the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied past the Tennessee Titans, 27-24, in Nashville on Monday night.

Read More|Comment

Category: News, Sports

Best of the Web

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ksfa860.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on NEWSTALK 860 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on NEWSTALK 860 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!