By Karina Ioffee and Alex Gronke
The federal government shut down midnight Monday after the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives failed to reach a compromise on a temporary funding bill, resulting in the furlough of about 800,000 federal workers, cuts to programs such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and national parks closures.
All destinations in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, as well as Muir Woods and Alcatraz Island are now closed to visitors and about 800 federal workers who live in Marin County will be furloughed.
The shutdown is the first since 1996 and follows Congress's stalemate over a spending plan by October 1, the start of the federal fiscal year. The Republican-controlled House had attached a rider to the spending bill, saying it would only approve it if the implementation of Obamacare was delayed.
Sign-ups for President Barack Obama's signature healthcare plan start Tuesday and aren't directly tied to funding the government. But the program is extremely unpopular among many Republicans who want it repealed.
"Healthcare law is the most insidious law known to man," Republican Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana told CNN recently.
The shutdown will also impact the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA, although food inspectors will continue to do their job and the self-funded mail service will not be interrupted.
But the bigger impact may be to the economy, with the shutdown estimated to cost $1 billion a week, chiefly from lost wages and reduced spending. The move could also cause disruptions in private-sector production and investments and lead to greater volatility in financial markets.
Other impacts include:
Federal courts will stay open for about 10 days before furloughs start interrupting normal business, according to NBC.
Air traffic controllers and airport screeners will remain at their posts.
Embassies and consulates around the world will stay open. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement will watch the borders and process Green Card applications.
While some civilian Pentagon bureaucrats will be furloughed, the 1.4 million active service military personnel will stay on duty. So will the Coast Guard.
Veterans will still be able to visit hospitals and receive their benefits, but some appeals for denied services may be postponed.
Food stamps will continue for a month, but WIC will close, according to CNN.
Medicare payments will be made.
The National Weather Service will provide weather forecasts. However, in what could be a problematic consequence of a shutdown for Californians wanting to know the magnitude of a temblor, the United States Geological Survey will close.
You’ll still have to pay your federal taxes, but the IRS will put audits on hold.
Don’t see the government agency or program you’re looking for? Here’s a pretty comprehensive list from CNN.
What do you think of the shutdown? Does it impact you in any way?