Here’s what closes down and what doesn’t.
Congress is barreling toward a government shutdown deadline.
The House and Senate have until midnight on Friday, January 19, to pass a spending bill or the federal government will run out of money and close its doors.
Despite controlling every lever of government, Republicans are somehow faced with the possibility that they can’t get the votes together to keep the government open. The shutdown could happen either because there aren’t 218 Republicans in the House and 50 in the Senate who can agree on a deal to fund the government, extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and offer relief for unauthorized immigrants who came as children, or because Democrats use their filibuster power in the Senate to block a funding bill they find unacceptable.
It’s been over four years since the last government shutdown, but after copious experience with shutdowns, especially during the protracted budget standoffs of the Clinton and Obama presidencies, we have a good sense of what will happen to the federal government if another occurs.
What a government “shutdown” looks like
If Congress can’t pass some kind of appropriations bill before the deadline, the government shuts down, and many “nonessential” government activities suddenly cease.
It’s not unusual for Congress to go to the brink of shutdown; it happened as recently as this past fall, when President Trump threatened a shutdown in a bid to get funding for a border wall.