What is Actually Closed During this Government Shutdown?

First thing to know is that the Friday midnight funding fizzle coincided with the government’s planned four-day holiday because last week Trump declared Monday’s Christmas Eve a federal holiday, so technically—is the government shut down or on vacation at the moment?

Not all of the government is closed.

Air Traffic Controllers, TSA, Amtrak, federal prisons, immigration officers, food inspectors, the FBI, Coast Guard, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the National Weather Service all keep going. People will still get food stamps and subsidized lunches. And you can still get a passport or a visa although there is a loophole here that the State Department could curtail issuing them if those services are offered in buildings run by another agency that is shut down.

The Smithsonian is open—looks like they have money to keep the doors open until at least January 1, but they are always closed on Christmas Day so don’t get excited when you go there on December 25th and the doors are locked.

The DMVs are state-funded and on their regular schedule, and the VA hospitals are open.

Much like last January’s shutdown, many national parks are still accessible to visitors, but they will have limited staffing and closed access to various park facilities, including restrooms.

But don’t expect snow to be plowed at places deemed non-essential. You can’t go down and talk to an IRS because they are closed, and you can’t get questions answered about your Small Business Administration loan, because they too are closed.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night [or government shutdown] stays the postal couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds because the USPS funds itself by all those priority mail fees and other sales.

According to the budget office, federal workers’ regular paychecks for this period (December to January 3) are being issued like normal. And essential employees will be retroactively paid for work performed during the shutdown. There is a some murkiness regarding non-essential employees who are simply sent home, or furloughed.

And just remember one thing.  In the past, those furloughed employees were retroactively paid anyway.