It’s now day two of the latest partial government shutdown, and many people are confused as to which portions of the government will be closed and which will remain open. Many believed the argument surrounding federal funding had been resolved earlier in the week, but a veto by President Trump of the congressional spending bill ushered in the most recent budgetary crisis. The veto was in response to the bill not including the necessary funds for a “border wall,” something the President has been adamant about since the 2016 campaign.
“The only way to stop drugs, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements and much else from coming into our Country is with a Wall or Barrier,” the President wrote on twitter. “Drones and all of the rest are wonderful and lots of fun, but it is only a good old fashioned Wall that works!”
While shutdowns can be scary, and to those federal employees directly impacted they can be devastating, this most recent shutdown will still keep those in “essential” positions working. According to a report from Roll Call, at least nine government departments and several other independent agencies are no longer funded, but many of these organizations have contingency plans to keep at least some of the staff on the payroll. Other agencies responsible for safety and security, law enforcement, and mail delivery are for the most part still going to be on the job.
USPS will not be interrupted during the gov’t shutdown. All Post Offices will remain open for business. Because we are an independent entity that is funded through the sale of our products & services, and not by tax dollars, our services will not be impacted by a gov’t shutdown. pic.twitter.com/s8asXt9pgc
— U.S. Postal Service (@USPS) December 22, 2018
The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security will be operating with 84 and 87 percent strength, respectively. The Department of Agriculture will be able to field approximately 60 percent of its employees, at least for the first week. The US Postal Service will also be open, as, according to a statement from an agency spokesman on Twitter, the agency is funded by sales not taxpayer dollars. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, confirmed it will also be operational to track the journey of Santa Clause on Christmas eve, according to a report from NBC.
In the event of a government shutdown, NORAD will continue with its 63-year tradition of NORAD Tracks Santa on Dec. 24. Military personnel who conduct NORAD Tracks Santa are supported by approximately 1,500 volunteers who make the program possible each and every year. pic.twitter.com/fY0oyjrdDc
— NORAD & USNORTHCOM (@Norad_Northcom) December 21, 2018
However, hundreds of thousands of federal workers may be required to work without getting a paycheck. CBS reports that up to “420,000 federal employees” might still have to report to their jobs even though there isn’t money to pay them. About an additional 380,000 are being furloughed, during which time they will also not receive a paycheck, placing additional strain on these employees right before the holidays. Other agencies responsible for research and some regulations are facing the brunt of the negative impacts. The National aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking at around 90 percent of its employees being forced to stay home, according to a report from Science Mag.
What is less clear is when the shutdown will end, although it will certainly continue through Christmas. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s new Chief of Staff, said it’s “very possible” the current shutdown will last until January, given the few legislative days left in 2018.