Government shutdown: Who is affected and what’s next?

 In U.S.
WASHINGTON — The federal government stopped operating at midnight, halting all but essential services, after the Senate came 10 votes short of reaching a temporary, last-minute funding deal that would have kept the government open through February 16. The shutdown comes on the anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration, and with the GOP in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House.

Mr. Trump is placing blame on Senate Democrats. However, five Democrats broke with their party to back the measure, while five Republicans voted against it. Democrats were holding out for a comprehensive bill and a deal to protect DACA recipients – immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

If Republican leaders get their way, the shutdown will not last long, CBS News’ Nancy Cordes reported. They were hoping that Democrats would join them later Saturday in passing a bill to keep the government open for 2.5 weeks. The Senate adjourned early Saturday and reconvened at noon. 

But longer the shutdown continues, the more likely its impact will be felt. 

U.S. troops will stay at their posts and mail will get delivered, but almost half of the 2 million civilian federal workers will be barred from doing their jobs if the shutdown extends into Monday.

Here is how key parts of the federal government would be affected by a shutdown:

Internal Revenue Service

A shutdown plan posted on the Treasury Department’s website shows that nearly 44 percent of the IRS’ 80,565 employees will be exempt from being furloughed during a shutdown. That would mean nearly 45,500 IRS employees will be sent home just as the agency is preparing for the start of the tax filing season and ingesting the sweeping changes made by the new GOP tax law. 

The Republican architects of the tax law have promised that millions of working Americans will see heftier paychecks next month, with less money withheld by employers in anticipation of lower income taxes. The IRS recently issued new withholding tables for employers.

But Marcus Owens, who for 10 years headed the IRS division dealing with charities and political organizations, said it’s a “virtual certainty” that the larger paychecks will be delayed if there’s a lengthy government shutdown.

Health and Human Services Department

Half of the more than 80,000 employees will be sent home. Key programs will continue to function because their funding has ongoing authorization and doesn’t depend on annual approval by Congress. But critical disruptions could occur across the vast jurisdiction of HHS programs — including the seasonal flu program. 

Medicare, which insures nearly 59 million seniors and disabled people, will keep going. And so will Medicaid, which covers more than 74 million low-income and disabled people, including most nursing home residents.

States will continue to receive payments for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers about 9 million kids. However, long-term funding for the program will run out soon unless Congress acts to renew it.

Deep into a tough flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be unable to support the government’s annual seasonal flu program. And CDC’s ability to respond to disease outbreaks will be significantly reduced.

Justice Department

Many of the nearly 115,000 Justice Department employees have national security and public safety responsibilities that allow them to keep working during a shutdown. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election will also continue working. His office is paid for indefinitely. 

The more than 95,000 employees who are “exempted” include most of the members of the national security division, U.S. attorneys, and most of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service and federal prison employees. Criminal cases will continue, but civil cases will be postponed as long as doing so doesn’t compromise public safety. Most law enforcement training will be canceled, per the department’s contingency plan.

State Department

Many State Department operations will continue in a shutdown. Passport and visa processing, which are largely self-funded by consumer fees, will not shut down. The agency’s main headquarters in Washington, in consultation with the nearly 300 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions around the world, will draw up lists of nonessential employees who will be furloughed. 

Department operations will continue through the weekend and staffers will be instructed to report for work as usual on Monday to find out whether they have been furloughed.

Defense Department

The U.S. military will continue to fight wars and conduct missions around the world, including in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. And members of the military will report to work, though they won’t get paid until Congress approves funding. 

“The military will still go to work,” said Mick Mulvaney, Office of Management and Budget director. “They will not get paid.”

“The border will still be patrolled, they will not get paid,” said Mulvaney. “Fire folks will still be fighting the fires out West, they will not get paid.”

But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Friday that a shutdown will have far-reaching effects. 

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