If the Congressmen and women on Capitol Hill fail to come to a decision today over legislation to provide funding for federal agencies (including the implementation of Obamacare by October 1), the country will most certainly see most of its services temporarily closed down or unable to operate due to budgetary constraints.
The services that would temporarily close up shop are the ones that don’t require annual appropriations (yearly funding assignments/renewals) by the government, or ones deemed non-essential. Major services like medical care, Social Security, law enforcement and homeland security will be unaffected.
In Boston alone, there are a number of federal agencies and federally-run services that may be affected by the shutdown. Below is a list of some and what would happen to them:
- Government-funded tourist spots (e.g. Bunker Hill Monument, U.S.S. Constitution, African Meeting House, Constitution Museum at Charlestown Navy Yard) would close
- Guided tours of the Freedom Trail would be temporarily halted
- Faneuil Hall Visitor Center would close
- Boston’s National Park Service: Over 100 rangers and administrative employees would be granted leave (furlough) without pay
- Boston Passport Agency: Americans will still be able to apply for visas and passports, though some services may be delayed
- U.S. Postal Service: Bostonians will continue receiving their mail uninterrupted
- All courts in the federal system, including the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, will operate but there is a chance that non-essential employees may have to be furloughed once the shutdown begins. Hearings and cases will not be affected
- Boston Department of Veterans Affairs: The office will stay open and most services remain available, including pension benefits and health care
The fate of the spending bill in the House of Representatives is yet unknown, though John Boehner earlier today said that he plans to send an amended bill back to the Senate again with a one-year delay in the individual mandate section of Obamacare with no exemption for members of Congress.