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By Catholic Online

4/8/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Postal service, military and air traffic controllers to keep operating

Things are looking grim for Congress passing a budget on time - if no decision is reached by Friday, the government will shut down. There's no need for panic, but there is room for concern: the U.S. government has shut down many times before, and in all instances it was just a temporary inconvenience that lasted a few days.

Workers who protect essential elements of the money and banking system will also continue. Most importantly, the Postal Service, which is self-funded, will continue to operate.

Workers who protect essential elements of the money and banking system will also continue. Most importantly, the Postal Service, which is self-funded, will continue to operate.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/8/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Services, postal services, government shutdown


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Between 1977 and 1980, there were six shutdowns ranging from eight to 17 days. Nine shutdowns occurred between 1980 and 1995, and none lasted longer than three full days. The Clinton-era shutdowns lasted five days and 21 days. Since then, the federal government has suffered no similar shutdown.

During the last major shutdowns in the final days of 1995 and early 1996, the government closed 368 National Park Service sites, along with national museums and monuments.

In addition, 200,000 passport applications went unprocessed and toxic waste cleanup work at 609 sites stopped. The National Institutes of Health stopped accepting new clinical research patients and services for veterans, including health care, were slowed.

Which services will keep running regardless? Agencies are allowed to perform any operations necessary for the safety of human life and protection of property.

The government will keep essential services, such as air traffic control and the national security apparatus in full operating mode.

Federal workers who provide medical care on the job would be kept on, as would employees who handle hazardous waste, inspect food, patrol the borders, and protect federal property, guard inmates or work in power distribution.

Workers who protect essential elements of the money and banking system will also continue. Most importantly, the Postal Service, which is self-funded, will continue to operate.

The government went dark twice during the Clinton administration. Some 800,000 workers were sent home during the first shutdown and 284,000 were sent home during the later shutdown.

It's not yet known how many workers would be furloughed in a new shutdown. Each federal agency has its own plan to wind down operations, and administration officials have not released details.

Will Social Security benefits be mailed? During the last major shutdown, the Social Security Administration mailed checks throughout the crisis, and a close reading of established law makes clear the agency has the legal authority to do so again.

Will troops overseas get the resources they need? Yes. While some Pentagon activities would stop, it would continue many other operations necessary for the safety of human life and protection of property.

However -- the Department of Defense says that if the government shuts down for an extended period, troops might not be paid on time.

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