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How a partial federal government shutdown will affect you

A government shutdown would mean Theodore Roosevelt's home

A government shutdown would mean Theodore Roosevelt's home at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay would be closed, though the grounds would remain open. Credit: Barry Sloan

WASHINGTON — A partial shutdown of the government began at the stroke of midnight Friday, curtailing some services and depriving about 800,000 workers of pay during the Christmas holidays.

The severity of the impact on Americans will worsen the longer that President Donald Trump and Congress remain in a standoff on appropriating money for unfunded agencies over his last-minute demand for at least $5 billion for a border wall.

Congress managed to pass appropriations bills for about three quarters of the government, including the Defense Department, and many government services will continue to operate, at least on a holiday schedule.

But lawmakers failed to pass funding for nine cabinet-level departments — Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury — as well as many smaller agencies.

That means some Americans could be affected if they are trying to get a small business off the ground, seek a federal loan for new single-family home, or wish to visit buildings at national historic sites such as Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay.

People will continue to get their mail, get their Social Security payments and be covered by Medicare and Medicaid, be screened at airports and board airplanes directed by air traffic controllers, and will be able to roam the grounds, though not the buildings, of national parks.

And the federal government will continue to require its employees to work if their duties are considered essential to national security, criminal enforcement and necessary upkeep of physical plants, computer operations and other important facilities.

About 420,000 federal workers will be on the job, without being paid, through the shutdown, and another 380,000 employees will be furloughed, meaning they won’t be working but won’t be paid as usual.

Those federal employees won’t get paid, and shuttered services won’t be offered again until Congress and the government reopen.


U.S. Postal Service: Remains open, mail will be delivered.

Social Security checks: Will be sent to recipients.

Medicare and Medicaid coverage: Will continue uninterrupted.

Airport security, flight control: TSA agents and air traffic controllers will be working.

Federal criminal courts: Will be on the job.

Parks, historic places: Grounds generally will be open, including at Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill.


Small business loans: No new loans, as the Small Business Administration will  close all its field offices.

Federal housing services: Slowdown in loan processing, probably no new loans for single-family homes, delayed payments to public housing agencies.

Federal civil litigation: Most U.S. courts handling civil cases will not be in session.

Federal help for farmers: Field offices in states and counties will be closed.

Parks, historic places: Visitor services and buildings will close, including at Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill. 

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