Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images News/Getty Images

What Happens In A Government Shutdown? Here’s What You Need To Know

By
Ad failed to load

The holidays are officially upon us, and as December looms, there are many things we can look forward to. Egg nog, for one. Hot chocolate, time with loved ones, brisk late-night walks in the snow. And, maybe, a government shutdown in December. What? How? Why? What about the children? you may be thinking. Well here's what a government shutdown could mean for you.

The long and short of it is this: Congress has until Dec. 8 to pass a spending bill, according to The Washington Post, or else the government will run out of money and shut down. The Senate spending bill requires 60 votes to pass, which means Republicans will need 8 Democrats to vote along with them on spending, but the next few weeks will require serious bipartisan compromise to avoid a shutdown. To boot, Republicans have signaled that they want to pass tax reform before addressing anything else, and since tax reform will likely be a difficult sell, it might mean that the spending bill doesn't meet its deadline.

In other words, a shutdown isn't out of the realm of possibility. In fact, according to what Steve Bell, a former GOP budget aide with the Bipartisan Policy Institute told The Washington Post, “the odds are better than 50 percent,” of a shutdown. Yeesh.

Ad failed to load

So, with a shutdown looming, what does that mean for people like you and me?

Well, it depends. According to ABC News, the last time the government shut down, for 16 days in Oct. 2013, approximately 800,000 federal employees were furloughed without pay. Nonessential services, including national parks, Smithsonian museums, and NASA, were shut down. Most disturbingly, Veterans Affairs benefits were disrupted, and millions of veterans and their families almost lost crucial financial assistance.

Ad failed to load

And while every shutdown is different, USA Today predicted some similar outcomes the last time a shutdown loomed — in April — which we can use to determine what could happen in mere weeks.

The nitty-gritty: all non-essential employees and services will likely be furloughed and shut down, which means people can say goodbye to the national parks and taxpayer-funded museums (at least for the time being). Citizens should also expect administrative slow-downs across federal agencies.

But many services will remain running — for example, the U.S. Postal Service, which does not receive taxpayer funding, will continue to operate.

Ad failed to load

Those who receive Social Security benefits or are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamp program will continue to receive their benefits. Both programs are mandatory and will continue to operate outside of a shutdown.

As for unemployment benefits, people were able to collect during the 2013 shutdown, so it's likely that you'll be able to collect if a shutdown occurs again. In fact, federal employees who were furloughed in 2013 qualified for unemployment benefits, allowing them some leeway while their jobs were suspended.

Some of the likely outcomes are pretty grim, though.

While travel won't stop, it could be disrupted by furloughs. Nonessential employees being sent home could spell longer waits at the airport, and right around the holidays, no less. And both USA Today and the New Statesman note that the State Department's passport department is partially funded by fees, so it's not completely dependent on federal money — but if you need a passport, act soon. We mean it: during a 1996 government shutdown, the State Department stopped processing applications, affecting hundreds of thousands of applicants.

Ad failed to load

Most worrying: federal loan programs could be in danger. The 2013 shutdown caused mortgage roadblocks. Grants and research funding could stall, per The Daily Californian. Federally funded student loans like the Pell Grant would, by and large, be safe at first, though the longer the shutdown lasts, the bigger the chance that even student loan disbursement could be interrupted.

And, perhaps, worst of all? You'll still owe your taxes by April 15, but the IRS could delay your tax return.

Why is this happening?

As recently as April, President Donald Trump threatened a government shutdown if he didn't get the money for his border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He backed off — but The Washington Post says that Trump's desire for wall funding in the impending spending bill could be one of five scenarios that could lead to a shutdown.

Ad failed to load

While a spending bill needs to be passed by Dec. 8 to avoid a shutdown, Republicans have signaled that they are going to try to pass President Donald Trump's sweeping tax reform bill beforehand. Which means that they need the Senate to pass the controversial plan which is already in danger of failing, and then combine the House and Senate versions of the bill. After that, Congress needs to come up with a spending bill that meets Democrats' (and some Republicans') demands in relation to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era program which allowed undocumented individuals who came to the U.S. while children to work, study, and live in the United States. When Trump sunsetted DACA this summer, Democrats said they would only pass a spending bill if it included legislation that makes DACA a law.

As recently as Sept. 14, it seemed that Trump and Democrats were close to a compromise on DACA, but today, Nov. 28, Trump tweeted that he wouldn't compromise with Democrats: "I don't see a deal!"

Ad failed to load

And with the additional pressure of a looming vote on tax reform — which would likely raise taxes on low- and middle-income Americans, might repeal the ACA's individual mandate and kick millions of people off of health care, and could even add to the national deficit to the tune of $1.7 trillion — things are looking grim for the possibility of passing a spending bill on time.

The last time the government shut down in 2013, it cost $24 billion in lost revenue for the economy. Congress has ten days to decide whether or not they'll allow this to happen again. In the meantime, don't hold your breath.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Here's Everything That's Leaving Netflix In June

Summer is here, and with it comes plenty of opportunity to binge watch more movies and TV shows that we never knew we needed in our lives. May has passed by in a blink of an eye, so I definitely need to catch up on what Netflix is getting rid of afte…
By Kristen Perrone

Cherry Print Is One Of Summer's Biggest Fashion Trends & It's So Much Sweeter Than Florals

If there's one thing that I've had my eye on this summer it's a cool, flirty cherry-print dress. Along with versatile black tops and blue denim, the color red has become a staple in my wardrobe this year and anytime I can infuse it into my daily look…
By Ariana Marsh

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Your World Is About To Be Filled With Sunshine

If you've had enough of the sleepy and heavy feeling associated with Taurus season, prepare yourself for a replenishing rush of fresh energy. As of May 20, the sun has officially moved into Gemini, and the weight on your shoulders will finally start …
By Roya Backlund

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano
)}