Separating Truth from Fiction: Gov. Shutdown

Some government services may temporarily end if the House and Senate can’t reach an agreement by the end of the month.  At the core of the debate: a funding bill, Obamacare and reaching our debt ceiling.

So, if the government were to shut down, what would that mean for you? Nightcap hit the streets to separate what’s true and what’s false on the topic.

True or False: All our national parks and national museums would close?

That statement is true. National parks and museums are funded by the government, and are considered federal agencies, run by government employees.  When posed the question, all three randomly selected participants answered correctly.

True or False: Getting a passport would be difficult?

The answer is true. Applications for passports and even paperwork for visas would go unprocessed if the shut down were to take effect. The last time the government shut down,  some 30,000 visa applications went unprocessed each day.

“If it happens again,  there will be some government furloughs, temporarily. They’re not going to be unemployed,” University of Texas at Arlington political science professor Alan Saxe said.

gov shutdownTrue or False: You would not receive your social security check if the government were to shut down?

This is false. Although social security is a federally funded program, agencies will continue to send out benefits for both social security and veteran benefits will not be affected because these programs are considered permanent law and receive funding every year. This question stumped one of our participants.

“I thought it would affect that,” Tania Nieto said. “That really stumped me – I’m surprised about that.”

True or False: The last government shutdown was back in 1995?

That’s true. That particular shut down occurred during President Bill Clinton’s administration. According to the Congressional Research Service, the shutdown started in 1995 and lasted into 1996, cost taxpayers $1.4 billion.

“Everybody is saying, my gosh, we’ve never had this before; we’ve had it before, many times before,” Saxe said.

True or False: We would not get mail if a shutdown were to happen?

That’s false. The U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Reserve will both remain open. Both agencies are funded from a different budget.

True or False: Obamacare would be affected in the event of a shutdown?

That’s actually false. The question tricked all our participants, but the truth is, Obamacare is appropriated as mandatory spending; meaning the budget does not need to be established year to year. In the event of a shutdown, discretionary spending could be affected, but the majority of the policy would not be impacted.

“I think it’s irresponsible and reckless,” taxpayer Todd Casey said. “It’s not what we need our government to be doing; it’s not what we elected them to do -  quibble over stuff. They need to get in there and take care of business.”

“Nobody wants this – nobody wants a government shutdown, but it may be educational. We’re spending too much money,” Saxe added.


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