Schiff Statement on the Potential Government Shutdown

Washington, DC – Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-29) released the following statement on the potential government shutdown:

“I am still hopeful that a government shutdown can be avoided, and I am doing everything possible to call for a responsible resolution on the amount of spending cuts.  It would be a terrible result, however, if policy riders unrelated to our budget were permitted to derail the budget negotiations. A shutdown will be harmful to our economic recovery and would represent a tragic outcome for the country.  Under that circumstance, I have asked my staff to continue working without pay, so that we can meet the needs of constituents dependent on Social Security, Medicare, the Veterans Administration or other federal assistance.  Moreover, if federal employees do not get paid, no Member of Congress should, and I will be donating my salary to charitable causes in my district.”

How Does the Shutdown Affect You?

Services will continue that are deemed essential for the safety of human life and the protection of property.  This includes the armed forces, border patrol, police, fire fighting and federal workers who provide medical care on the job.  The Postal Service and the Federal Reserve, which are both self-funded, will also continue to operate.  During the last shutdown in 1996, the shutdown also delayed bankruptcy cases.

In the event of a shutdown, the government will temporarily stop all "non-essential" services.  However, "essential services" will continue to operate, such as those listed above.  Other federal agencies may cut their services to a bare minimum, and are determining which of their services fall under these rules. 

  • Disaster Response—Disaster Response is not affected by the shutdown.
  • Federal Courts—Federal courts are not affected by the shutdown and remain open.
  • IRS—Tax forms still need to be postmarked by Monday, April 18 (Patriots Day is not a federal holiday and you can no longer send forms to the IRS for processing).  Electronic tax returns will be processed, but paper returns will not be, which could delay receipt of a refund.  
  • Medicare—Benefits for this program are also exempt from the shutdown, so current participants should not notice any disruption.  However, new applications could be delayed.
  • National Parks—National Park Service grounds, museums, and monuments will close, disrupting educational visits and vacation plans.
  • Social Security—Benefits for this critical program do not go through the appropriations process, so they should continue being deposited into recipient accounts or mailed to their homes. However, staff cuts may delay other services such as enrolling new participants, holding hearings, or resolving problems.
  • Unemployment—If the shutdown continued for an extended period, the federal funds that help states pay the costs of their unemployment programs could run out, which would require the state to step in and advance the money to keep their programs running.  Otherwise, benefits would be reduced or stopped. 
  • Veterans—VHA hospitals will stay open and VBA disability compensation will be paid, however the last government shutdown saw many veterans' benefits cut or reduced.
  • Visas and Passports—Prior shutdowns have kept new visa and passport applications from being processed.  Embassies will remain open for services for American citizens, but will not conduct visa interviews. 

How Does the Shutdown Affect Government Workers?

Most non-essential government employees will be furloughed from their jobs, only a few exempt employees will be allowed to come into work.  Federal employees who are furloughed will not receive pay.  Additionally, federal contractors will not be paid during this time and will not be eligible for back pay. Even if you want to work unpaid, federal law prohibits the government from accepting volunteer work.

Related Websites & Articles