10 ways govt shutdown would hurt America

000_gyi0060372493_siWith the threat of a federal government shutdown hanging over the US economy, here is a handy list of the possible effects American citizens and the rest of the world could face if no deal is reached to continue funding.

In the most recent developments in a budget battle, the US Senate Democrats have  rejected a proposal by the Republican-led House of  Representatives to put off Obamacare for a year in return for  temporary funding of the federal government beyond Monday.  

Though adopting spending bills by Oct. 1, the start of the new  fiscal year in the US, may seem a purely political issue, if  Congress fails to approve funding for the federal government this  would seriously affect the daily routine of ordinary US citizens,  let alone up to 800,000 federal employees who would be sent home  Tuesday without pay if the shutdown takes place.

The last government shutdown lasted 21 days, from December 1996  to January 1997, and cost the administration of US President Bill  Clinton cost an estimated $2 billion, according to the White  House’s Office of Management and Budget.

In remarks made by Obama Monday evening the  President struck a defiant note on the healthcare law.

“An important part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect  tomorrow, no matter what Congress decides to do today.  The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is  already in place. You can’t shut it down.”

In another pointed remark aimed at Republicans tying Obamacare to  the government shutdown the President essentially  accused lawmakers of political blackmail.

“You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for  doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway, or just  because there’s a law there that you don’t like.”

  1 Countdown to US default looms

A halt of US government operations would drag the world’s  biggest economy closer to bankruptcy, something unprecedented in  US history. If no budget deal is done, the US would bump up  against their “debt ceiling”  and run out of money by October  17. By then, the US government would have less than $30 billion  cash on hand, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has calculated.

  2 Hundreds of thousands of federal employees on furlough

A one-time layoff of 800,000 people working for the US  government would erode the earlier projected economic growth of  2.5 percent for the fourth quarter of 2013 by about 0.32  percentage points, according to a forecast by Mark Zandi, chief  economist and co-founder of Moody’s Analytics. That projection  assumes a two-week shutdown. If it drags into a whole month, the  loss of GDP would rise to 1.4 percentage points.

  3 Troops’ paychecks stopped

About 1.4 million military active-duty personnel would  keep on working, but with their paychecks delayed. Approval for  troops’ paychecks is dependent on Obama’s proposed 2014 federal  budget being passed by Congress.

  4 Women and children’s nutrition program threatened

Pregnant women and new moms who are poor and facing   “nutrition risk” won’t be able to buy healthy food, as a looming  shutdown would put bracers on the $6 billion Special Supplemental  Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC).

  5 $85 billion in cuts to federal programs

When a shutdown was last threatened in March 2013, it would have  resulted in $85 billion in automatic cuts in spending on federal  programs – many aimed at alleviating social hardship. The cuts,  known as sequestration, would affect grants to local  organizations and funds that keep those programs running.

  6 Housing loans halted

US federal programs that provide for about 30 percent of all new  loans in the housing market – a backbone of the country’s economy   – will be shut down. Government funding of new businesses will  also be halted, as well as workplace health and safety  inspections.

  7 Trade talks scuppered?

US plans to have a Pacific trade deal, the Trans Pacific  Partnership, signed with the US’s Asian partners could stall, as  Obama may decide not to travel to this weekend’s Bali, Indonesia  meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations. While  he could still go if no deal is done by then, it could be a gift  for his Republican opponents if Obama was seen to be jetting off  to a tropical paradise at a time when federal employees were sent  home without pay.

  8 Visa delays likely

Thousands of Americans may not be able to get passports  for foreign travel, and tourists travelling to the US will likely  face delays in visa processing. During the last government  shutdown in 1996-97, some 20,000-30,000 applications remained  unprocessed daily.

  9 Space program on hold

Space agency NASA will be hit the most, as the agency will  need to furlough about 97 percent of its employees, though it  will continue to keep workers at Mission Control in Houston and  elsewhere to support the International Space Station, where the  two NASA astronauts currently on board, Michael Hopkins and Karen  Nyberg, may not know whether they have jobs to come back to.

  10 National parks, museums and zoos would close to the public

State-funded museums, art galleries and zoos across the country  would keep their doors closed Tuesday, leaving thousands of  employees furloughed and visitors unable to see attractions. US  national parks, from Yosemite to the Shenandoahs, as well as  Washington’s National Mall, Lincoln Memorial and Constitution  Gardens, would also be closed.



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