What Would it Mean if The Federal Government Shut Down?

What Would it Mean if The Federal Government Shut Down?

In early October, the former Speaker of the House, Republican Kevin McCarthy, was ousted. It was not until October 25, 2023, that a new speaker was appointed after three failed appointments. Without a Speaker of the House, congress was at a standstill.  

No legislation could be introduced on the floor until Republican Representative Mike Johnson was appointed. Now, Johnson must lead the House to work with the Senate to pass government funding legislation to prevent a government shutdown set to occur on November 17.  

With less than a month until a government shutdown, it poses concerns about what it would mean for Americans. Government departments will be impacted if the government shutdowns: including but not limited to the Department of Education, Department of Justice, Social Security Administration and the Department of State.  

The Department of Education oversees the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and in the event of a government shutdown they will continue to process applications and issue student loans to college students, according to Kentucky Congressman Morgan McGarvey’s website. However, in the event of a government shutdown there may be backups and delays in processing.  

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The Department of Justice announced on September 19, 2023, that in the event of a government shutdown, federal courts will stay open, but some proceedings could be delayed.  

A social security number is required for a person to get a job, collect government benefits, identify yourself on college applications and track income. One’s number can be found on a social security card. If a person loses their Social Security card during the government shutdown, the Social Security Administration will continue to issue replacement cards. However, one should expect delays due to a decrease in staff.  

Many Americans travel internationally for vacations throughout the year, and a passport is required to leave the country. In the event of the government shutdown, the passport agencies will remain open and operate as usual according to Congressman McGarvey’s website. Additionally, any U.S. citizens who may currently be out of the country can still visit a United States embassy but should expect delays due to furloughed staff.  

With Speaker of the House Mike Johnson being elected, Congress is able to move forward with federal funding legislation after a 3-week halt. But, unless the House and Senate can agree on terms before November 17, 2023, the government will shut down.  

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