What's Affected If There Is a Government Shutdown?

The New York Times examines what agencies will be affected by a government shutdown.

What happens to the federal courts? How long can they stay function? What about court-appointed counsel? Will the defendants' cases proceed? If not, can they get a dismissal on speedy trial grounds? A few weeks ago, I got this notice from the Chief judges of the federal district and bankruptcy court in Nebraska. Clearly, they have been thinking about it.

Members of the Bar,

The district and bankruptcy courts have approved contingency plans should Congress fail to enact an appropriations bill or continuing resolution before April 8. If the federal government shuts down after April 8 because appropriations have lapsed, the Judiciary will continue normal operations for approximately two weeks using emergency funds. Thereafter, judges will continue to hear and decide cases; however, court support staff may be reduced to mission-essential activities.

In the meantime, court operations will continue as usual. Further information will be disseminated if and when necessary.

Things are going to get interesting. I still think a budget will pass by Friday.

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    I've done some reading (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Makarov on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 03:42:33 AM EST
    about the shutdown, since 15 years is a long time to remember much about it.

    As we all, mostly, know, "essential services" continue during a shutdown. We'll keep bombing the crap out of Libya, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The military is completely unaffected. Civilian employees of DoD and the various service branches are also unaffected. The Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art, and various national parks could very likely be closed, or close within a short time frame.

    What's interesting is I don't believe there is any specific law that defines what all the "essential services" are. That would appear to be left up to the executive. Along those lines, Obama can be expected to have broad powers to define what exactly is "essential".

    I believe Social Security and federal pension benefits will be payed as usual. People who need a social security card or wish to enroll in Medicare may find they have to wait until a budget is passed.

    All in all, I think failure to extend the debt ceiling will have much more serious consequences than a short term (30 day) "government shutdown". At the very least, the former will be much more interesting. Despite Tea Party and other Republican rantings, I doubt very much there will be no hostage crisis over extending the debt ceiling. The last thing they want average Americans to understand is how the government really pays its bills. It literally creates money out of nothing. The only reason we have a debt ceiling and must issue debt is because Congress has mandated that through law. I don't think Paul Ryan and others want that secret to slip out.

    I did read something a few weeks ago about the negative impact a shutdown would have on the District of Columbia. Specifically, something about the District being unable to spend $ or some such. I have no idea if that is at all accurate.

    Mostly accurate observations about DOD... (none / 0) (#58)
    by christinep on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:15:55 PM EST
    yet, the effects in a week or two may well be more far reaching than you would imagine. In the relatively short shutdown at the end of 1995, our EPA regional office closed the door to everyone other than 20 or so employees...600+ were sent home.  As I recall, the disruptions in service beyond the museums, parks, etc. were the most troublesome to many in the public. It was noticeable; that is why blame was ascribed to one party (Repubs); so much blame that Gingrich's career at that point became toast-like (until he "reinvented" himself in recent years.)

    Miraculously, (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by lentinel on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 06:15:52 AM EST
    the wars will continue, unabated, @ three billion dollars a week.

    No problem.

    Lemme guess... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:10:53 AM EST
    DEA is a Deemed Essential Agency.  What a joke.

    I certainly consider national park services more essential...to our lives, certainly our liberties, and of course our pursuit of happiness.  It's amazing how they get it twisted like clockwork, everytime.  


    Yawn (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:04:42 AM EST
    Don't be fooled by theatrics.  They're ginning up a rigged game.  A "miraculous last minute deal" with appear.  The press will appear "shocked", "surprised" and "amazed".    

    It will be heralded as a brilliant political compromise. It will be nothing of the kind.

    Hmm.. unless Obama is agreeing to (none / 0) (#10)
    by observed on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:09:42 AM EST
    $100 billion in cuts, I don't buy that scenario.

    Yes, a 3% cut (2.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:26:59 AM EST

    is simply too big for Obama to consider.

    If it was 3% across the board it would be one (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:57:54 AM EST
    thing. But it is 3% of the 12% they deemed open for cuts.

    no kidding (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by CST on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:02:59 AM EST
    like anyone here would be complaining if they took that from the military budget.

    "we're only cutting 3%"

    also known as "we're only getting rid of medicare"


    Medicare (none / 0) (#30)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 01:13:37 PM EST

    is closer to 30%

    you can continue spending money (none / 0) (#31)
    by CST on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 01:16:33 PM EST
    without it being on medicare.

    The medicare "fix" being proposed eliminates medicare and replaces it with something else.


    Something else that pays for medical care (none / 0) (#36)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:05:55 PM EST

    An old service with a new name.  Big deal.

    "Big Deal" (none / 0) (#37)
    by CST on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:14:32 PM EST
    D@mn straight it's a big deal.

    And it is not the same service, that's kind of the point.

    If it were the same service they wouldn't be proposing it.


    Not quite (none / 0) (#39)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:16:16 PM EST
    It basically turns medicare into "Obamacare" - federal aid to buy for private insurance, which is so popular with all these days. Paul Ryan's tea party constituents will love it!

    Since we are doing "shared sacrifices" (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:00:03 AM EST
    the 3% cuts need to start with 3% cuts to Senator,  Representative and Executive pay and health and retirement benefits. Maybe they need to get vouchers for their health benefits. $200 for individual and $400 for families and eliminate the on site care they get now. That action alone would go a long way to control costs on health insurance.

    Then we need to go after the big bucks by immediately ceasing military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.


    and raise taxes on the top 1% (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:03:02 AM EST
    Deficit "Crisis" solved. See how easy that was?

    Actually, that should have been Obama's opening bargaining position.


    Oh yeah (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 12:45:46 PM EST
    Definitely.  Let's let them "eat their own dogfood" on the "affordable care act".  

    And then while furloughed they can pick up a gun and a hundred pound pack (or whatever it is) and go fight in Afghanistan...

    Yes, good answer.


    It's not just a "3% cut" (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Yman on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:11:38 AM EST
    The Repubs are proposing cuts to only non-defense discretionary spending, which is only @ 12.3% of the total federal budget.  The "2.6/3% cut" refers to a percentage of the entire federal budget, the vast majority of which is off-limits.  In short, the cuts to the affected programs go much deeper than that.  Not to mention the loss of jobs and effect on economic recovery.

    But the "2.6/3% cut" is a nice talking point.


    None of the budget is "off limits" (none / 0) (#33)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 01:18:26 PM EST

    The "2.6/3% cut" refers to a percentage of the entire federal budget, the vast majority of which is off-limits.

    100% of the budget is voted annually.  It may surprise you to learn, but when Moses came down with the ten commandments there was nothing written on the back that says 60% of the federal budget is "off limits."



    This (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 01:46:36 PM EST
    isn't a theocracy. It's a democracy in case you don't know.

    It may be a democracy (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Zorba on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:03:30 PM EST
    in theory, but we're getting closer and closer to an outright plutocracy.  Unfortunately.

    Actually, it surprises me to hear .... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Yman on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 06:14:49 PM EST
    ... that some people believe that Moses is involved in the federal budget negotiations - and who knew he was so bad at math.

    To be clear, however, it's the Republican proposal that puts 87.7% (not 60%) of the budget "off limits", not me.  I'm just pointing out how silly it is when some people attempt to trivialize the cuts by claiming it's "only" 2.6-3%.


    It might surprise you you to learn (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 08:12:28 PM EST
    but when Moses came down with the ten commandments there was nothing written on the back that says starve the poor to give to the rich.



    Heck (none / 0) (#59)
    by CoralGables on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:39:11 PM EST
    the picture they showed me of Moses in catholic school had nothing but 10 roman numerals on the tablets. I thought they had something to do with the super bowl. The nuns weren't amused.

    As someone who went to catholic school (none / 0) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 08:00:51 AM EST
    went nuns were not as mild mannered as they are now, I can relate to "The nuns weren't amused."

    Too Big To Consider 100 billion? (none / 0) (#54)
    by norris morris on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 07:13:49 PM EST
    Don't bet on it. Obama has caved on a lotta stuff as we all know. I hope you're right. The cost of shutting down costs millions let alone how it deprives many people of "essential" [whatever that means} services.

    What the Republicans want (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:12:09 AM EST
    Isn't even a solution to our deficit problems either.  AND it will cause our economy to contract and tax revenue will shrink again and then we have the exact same problem with a deficit again AND we will have destroyed just about everything that makes living possible for the poor and chronically ill in this country.  What they want will not create jobs, it will freshly shave a brand new layer of existing jobs right off the top of the struggling economy.

    It's no real solution, but they'll shut the government down demanding it while Democrats in general debate very little of what is happening and what REAL solutions are needed in the public arena.  Both parties are incompetent, they only differ in that one is incompetent and the other is incompetent, armed, and certifiable.

    The problem is that the Democrats want (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Anne on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:45:39 AM EST
    the same thing, just to a different degree; if Democrats really did believe that cutting spending was the worst thing to do to spur the economy, that's what they'd be arguing.

    If they really thought we needed to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, they would be arguing that now was not the time to embark on an austerity budget plan and "tweak" these programs.

    This is not the argument the Dems are engaged in.  They never stood up or pushed back on the dishonest Deficit Commission.  They never stood up and argued against The Deal.  They never stood up and argued to get anything that would have helped them in these budget negotiations when they "brokered" that Deal.

    Are they weak?  Afraid?  Spineless?

    No, they're not.  Their problem is they simply no longer believe in the things Democrats used to be all about.  They have become indifferent to the old, the poor and the sick.  They've become as hawkish as Republicans.  They've stopped trying to protect our basic rights from being further whittled away.  The same Dems who wanted Bush's head on a plate for his actions seem to want to put Obama's on Mt. Rushmore - and he's pushing and implementing and extending many of these same things.

    This is all kabuki-on-steroids, as far as I'm concerned.  They're like a bunch of bickering children in a car arguing about what route to take, but nevertheless agreeing on where they're going.

    And as near as I can tell, it still looks like Destination: Hell.


    Yes it is pretty hard to argue (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:53:53 AM EST
    that Obama and his Dems are spineless, or weak, or afraid when they just don't give a $hit what anyone else thinks and open fire on Libya and unload 160+ Tomahawk missiles and who knows how many bombing sorties :)

    Rather than pushing back on (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 12:34:37 PM EST
    the recommendations of the dishonest Deficit Commission, Conrad, Durbin and Warner are out selling implementing them.

    Big money wants to more tax cuts, to privatize government programs so that they overcharge for stripped down services and to drastically drive down wages with the exception of the multi million dollar bonuses for the top 1%. Both parties are going to make sure that big money gets what they want. Most legislators are part of the top 1%, benefit from the tax cuts, and are financially rewarded for robbing the poor to benefit the rich while they are in office and after they leave.  



    You Are So Right (none / 0) (#55)
    by norris morris on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 07:23:20 PM EST
    This is terribly destructive if it comes to pass.

     Democrats have not pushed back early enough or hard enough. Doesn't anyone do their job in educating and promoting policy to the public?

    Republicans are a total sham in this and it will slow the economy and further harm our progress out of the mess left by GOP.

    The Republicans always fight harder, more ruthlessly and noiser, and  are masters of PR flim flam. Look at the poll numbers the Birthers
    have received? Crazy.

    Democrats have not learned how to control the debate and generally appear meek.  Some spine is needed in a hurry.


    Obama needs to show the nation he actually CARES ! (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by samsguy18 on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:45:34 PM EST
    Where will Obama be spending the evening tonight........New York.... attending a dinner/rally honoring Al Sharpton. Personally I like Mr. Sharpton...however Obama's actions speak much louder than his words !

    Maybe (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by lentinel on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 03:06:24 PM EST
    he can't show the nation that he cares because he doesn't really care about anything.

    The lack of caring (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 04:06:11 PM EST
    Has brought me to the point of not really caring either.  If I care I just end up frustrated and angry.  It is better to see Obama and the rest of them for what they really are and realize that I'm an observer, and just observe.  If they shut it down, well hell....they shut it down.  If they don't they don't, I don't expect anything wonderful to be produced by any of them no matter how this goes in the midst of this stupid fricken soap opera to no place they are thrashing around in.

    MT, my dear (none / 0) (#48)
    by Zorba on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 04:27:47 PM EST
    You may say you don't care, but I know you really do.  We all do.  

    I am living proof that if they manage to spit (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 05:05:48 PM EST
    out any decent humanity nourishing bit of legislation, that I can get very forgetful.  What if I get sick of that though too?  I don't think I've sought less news or read less in the last four/five years than I have these past few days.  Much of the base was upset about Libya, I really wasn't....but after all that hoopla anything else they have going on is pretty pathetic.  And our Libya efforts ain't lookin so good overall either.  Perhaps if they had something going on stateside that was really wonderful everyone could avoid how crappy that looks, but they got nuthin.

    I think (none / 0) (#49)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 04:39:29 PM EST
    there's more people like that than you realize. That's why the whole "it's up to us" video that Obama did is really kind of laughable. He's shown that he doesn't care so why should you care back?

    My husband watched that on a DVR'd (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 05:07:55 PM EST
    Daily Show last night and he couldn't believe it.  He couldn't believe anyone would kick off a campaign with "I know I sort of suck but what the hell, watcha gonna do?" :)

    Obama Is MIA (none / 0) (#56)
    by norris morris on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 07:28:01 PM EST
    It isn't unusual for Obama to do the most convenient thing regardless of the world around him.

    He's been MIA on lots of vital issues, and late on rejecting the Republican threats of shutdown,
    and putting up a fight.

    Listen, he doesn't like to fight as we all know now.  And we also know change doesn't come without ferocious pushback and using the Bully Pulpit to promote change.



    I'm (none / 0) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 07:32:16 AM EST
    assuming this won't change the state courts?

    To the limited extent that the state courts (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 09:26:32 AM EST
    get any federal funds, they probable come in block grants that are long since appropriated and disbursed.  I would foresee no effect on state courts or other state government agencies at all. This is totally a federal government thing.

    Maybe the president will decide that Congress (none / 0) (#4)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 08:50:01 AM EST
    is not an essential service and furlough them.

    They can't seem to pass a budget, so I'm not sure we'd miss anything.

    They can't seem to pass a budget (none / 0) (#12)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:24:33 AM EST

    They can't seem to pass a budget, so I'm not sure we'd miss anything.

    The budget for this year was due in September of last year.  The last Congress dropped the ball.


    Not dropping the ball as much as more of (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:00:22 AM EST
    the dame gamesmanship. Republicans knew they would have more votes in the new congress.

    If you recall... (none / 0) (#38)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:15:30 PM EST

    the Donks had overwhelming majorities in both houses.

    No, not overwhelming when a good number of them (none / 0) (#40)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:19:03 PM EST
    are Blue Dogs, siding with the Republicans on fiscal issues. It was to both the Blue Dogs benefit and the Republicans benefit to stall it until after the election. You can call that dropping the ball, or stalling until a more favorable climate arrives. I don't really much care.

    Stall?! (none / 0) (#42)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:32:30 PM EST

    Pelosi had the votes to pass anything she wanted.  She did not even bother to bring it up for a vote. In the House there can be no stalling, votes happen when the Speaker wants them to happen.  She had from October '09 to September '10 to put together a budget for this year, and she dropped the ball.  

    And she said she was done voting for things (none / 0) (#44)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:49:10 PM EST
    in the House and having her members put themselves out on the limb, especially right before an election, only to have the Senate defeat it anyway. The House voting would not have made it so.

    I just don't think 'dropping the ball' is the right description. That sounds like it was some accident or mistake.


    Right before the election! (none / 0) (#53)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 06:39:36 PM EST

    She had a whole 12 months before September 30.  Waiting eleven and a half months and then blaming the upcoming election is a hoot!

    Every congress... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:51:12 AM EST
    since I've been alive has dropped the ball...if a shutdown sends them home with no pay thats a mark in the plus column.

    I can't call striping rights and making up new crimes essential by any definition...but I guess we need a budget so we know how much we gotta borrow to serve the rich and how much to stiff the poor.


    I thought it would pass (none / 0) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 09:44:06 AM EST
    but I am beginning to wonder.  they clearly want to shut it down.  

    I believe that Obama's abject (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by observed on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 09:56:43 AM EST
    caving may have made a shutdown more likely.
    The Republicans want two things: massive budgets cuts together with a big political victory over Obama.
    Well, when Obama starts by matching their cuts dollar for dollar, they can't simply say yes, because there's no victory.
    They have to ask for even steeper cuts.
    And no, I don't think this is a clever move by Obama, taking away the ground from his opponents. I think it's profoundly stupid in a way that is a little surprising.

    what (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 10:09:31 AM EST
    a surprise

    I'd guess (none / 0) (#22)
    by lilburro on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:15:06 AM EST
    Obama thinks he can win this battle.  And he probably can.  "Responsibility" is a major part of his (intended) political image.  Being able to run on the GOP forcing a government shutdown could be golden for him.

    Who says Obama won't be blamed? (none / 0) (#25)
    by observed on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 12:00:36 PM EST
    That's not clear at all.

    I guess (none / 0) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 12:18:41 PM EST
    we'll see but Obama has never been one to go to the American people or know how to go to the American people to get support what he is doing. He's more a back room dealer.

    Fiscally conservative sociallly liberal (none / 0) (#29)
    by Politalkix on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 12:59:10 PM EST
    is the formula  democrats will run on.BHO is exactly where his party wants him to be. Just watch andrew cuomo.The NY Times has reported that Cuomo has received billions of dollars from David Koch.Cuomo is saying that he is a progressive who is broke.

    Cuomo = just desserts (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by vicndabx on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:52:24 PM EST
    for all those who wanted Paterson out, IMO.

    what do you mean by "His party"? (none / 0) (#32)
    by observed on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 01:18:15 PM EST
    Certainly not the people who aren't rich.

    Maybe we need a third designation (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 02:27:10 PM EST
    besides fiscally liberal/conservative and socially liberal/conservative that includes the war, civil liberties, and Gitmo issues. Obama does not seem very liberal on those.