WASHINGTON D.C. — The White House Office of Management and Budget is asking federal agencies to prepare contingency plans for a possible government shutdown if Congress fails to keep the government funded before Oct. 1.
The U.S. House of Representatives has been unable to pass a temporary funding measure just days before the end of the government’s fiscal year.
House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, has been unable to convince a small number of his party members to approve a budget deal reached with President Joe Biden earlier this year.
McCarthy faces immense pressure for severe spending cuts from a handful of hard-right conservatives in his caucus, essentially halting his ability to lead the chamber, the Associated Press reported.
If the government does shut down, many essential services such as law enforcement, the military, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will continue but many federal employees will continue working without pay.
The U.S. Coast Guard will continue operations as normal but personnel may not receive pay, said Ian O’Keefe, communications manager for U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. Kilmer represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes Clallam and Jefferson counties as well as Kitsap, Mason and Grays Harbor along with part of Pierce County.
The National Park Service declined to comment on the potential shutdown but O’Keefe said the situation may be similar to the shutdown in 2013 when millions of visitors were turned away from National Parks, monuments and federally managed lands. Logging on federal lands also would cease during a shutdown, he said.
O’Keefe said it was unclear whether visitors still would be allowed into national parks, even if federal employees and services were not operating.
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security checks would continue to be sent out, but staff at those agencies would be curtailed and recipients might have difficulty contacting them if they are in need of assistance.
Other services, such as the issuing of new Social Security cards, would stop during the shutdown.
O’Keefe said that while the essential services of the government would continue to operate, the ripple effects of a shutdown will have large impacts on the economy, particularly in Kilmer’s district where the federal government, namely the Department of Defense, is the largest employer.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.