The Government Is SHUTDOWN — Here’s What That Means This Time

After the Senate failed to approve of the House-passed bill, the government shut down and, as USA Today reports, the shutdown affects the Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development Departments.

Here’s more:

What won’t be affected by the shutdown?

Flights.Air-traffic controllers and security officers still will be on the job even though the shutdown has begun.

Amtrak. The trains are run by a government-owned corporation and also will operate as usual.

The border. Customs and border agents will continue working at border crossings and ports of entry.

Social Security checks. Social Security benefits still go out.

Medicare. Like Social Security, benefits will still be provided.

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and Women, Infants and Children. Benefits available for at least as long as some carryover money in the states or the federal accounts are available.

Smithsonian museums and zoo. They will be open every day except Christmas.

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NORAD’S Santa Tracker. The beloved Christmas Eve tracker will still follow St. Nickaround the world.

As CBS News reports, “essential” personnel and other major department staff will remain open and operating:

The partial shutdown won’t have much effect on your holiday plans. The post office will stay open, so gift and holiday card stragglers can still put them in the mail. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents would still work, and air travel would continue virtually unaffected.

Government employees who are considered “essential,” such as Secret Service agents, Customs and Border Patrol agents and U.S. troops deployed at the border, will still be working. But a shutdown creates a risk for hundreds of thousands of federal workers: More than 420,000 federal employees would have to go to work without pay. More than 380,000 will be furloughed. Those who work will get paid eventually – and those furloughed likely will – but depending how long the shutdown lasts, they could miss a paycheck.

As USA Today also reports, Trump has several other funding proposals on his desk, passed by both the House and the Senate, waiting to be signed. None of these proposals include funding for the border wall, but the president’s signature would immediately end the shutdown and would undoubtedly be the quickest way to do so.

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the lawmaker would prevent the passage of any funding proposal which includes funding for a border wall.

“Leader Schumer reminded them that any proposal with funding for the wall will not pass the Senate and that two proposals that Leader [Nancy] Pelosi and he offered the president in the Oval Office last week are both still on the table,” the spokesman said via the Washington Examiner. “As is Leader [Mitch] McConnell’s proposal that the Senate unanimously passed two nights and could pass the House and avoid a shutdown if the President signaled he would sign it.”

Another solution could come about with Senate lawmakers writing a new funding proposal. If senators write a new proposal, the bill would then be sent to the House and would need to be approved there before it is sent to the president.

“Alternatively, Congress could quickly pass a short-term spending bill while the broader agreement is drafted and winds its way through procedural hurdles,” USA Today reports. “For government workers nervous about paychecks, this would be the best-case scenario.”

Any option which passes through the Senate would have to make its way through procedural hurdles, which could open the door for a lone senator to prevent its passage.

From USA Today:

Any single senator can stand in the way of an agreement that the president and most other members support, a dynamic that would require Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to file a cloture motion to cut off debate. An intervening day must pass before the Senate can vote on that motion, which then requires 60 votes to pass.

The Senate would then wait as long as 30 hours before voting on the actual legislation, though that window is routinely shortened.

If handled by the book, the Senate’s procedures could put a bill back on the House floor around Christmas, when lawmakers could be home for the holiday. House leaders are struggling to keep members who have been voted out of office in town for votes.

 

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