On Sunday morning, many of services of the federal government could be disrupted for the first time since December 2018. In a fight over spending priorities for the next fiscal year, Congress has yet been able to pass a bill to fund the government.
During the previous shutdown, garbage overwhelmed national parks, the aviation system was strained, the state’s domestic violence and sexual assault organizations worried about funding and federal employees found themselves furloughed and filing unemployment claims.
The deadline for President Joe Biden to sign a bill to avoid a shutdown is midnight on Saturday.
If a spending bill isn’t passed, the potential fallout in Colorado includes:
• Some federal employees will be furloughed, while others in services deemed essential such as the military, federal law enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration will work without pay.
• Airport travelers could face longer TSA wait times if fewer unpaid employees clock into work.
• Colorado’s four national parks could potentially close.
• Households relying on federal food assistance programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could lose benefits once funding runs out.
• The state’s food pantries will face strain.
• The Department of Homeland Security will “only continue ‘exempt’ activities such as law enforcement and maritime protection,” according to its contingency plan.
• While the Social Security Administration will continue paying social security and supplemental security income, recipients will face issues contacting customer service.
• Members of federal health insurance Medicare and Medicaid will still receive their benefits, but will have trouble reaching agency personnel.
• Student loan borrowers will still be required to make payments to their servicers, but access to Department of Education representatives could be limited.
• Students seeking federal financial aid like FAFSA and Pell Grants could face interruptions.
• You will still receive your mail. The U.S. Postal Service is not funded by Congress.
However, impact to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy based in Golden, “will be minimal,” spokesperson David Glickson said in an email. “We do not anticipate an interruption to our research operations.”
Denver Post reporter Aldo Svaldi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.