Unless Congress passes a continuing resolution, this week non-essential federal spending will dry up on Friday at midnight, and the U.S. government will shut down. Disagreements over DACA and other immigration priorities continue to divide the Congress, and the potential shutdown is being used as leverage. But how would a government shutdown affect Texas and Texans, and what essential services are exempted?
Alex Samuels, a community reporter for the Texas Tribune, says anything related to national security or public safety counts as an essential service and would continue to operate in the event of a shutdown. That includes the Department of Justice, National Security Agency, and other entities focusing on those areas.
“A lot of times, they’re already equipped with funding for if the government shuts down,” Samuels says.
On the non-essential list are museums, parks and federal offices not related to security and safety, including those in Texas. They would close for the duration of a shutdown. About 200,000 non-essential federal workers are based in Texas. That’s among the highest number of federal employees in the nation. Austin has a large IRS facility and there are ten national parks and historical sites that would be affected. NASA facilities in Houston would close, too.
Samuels says the federal E-verify program, which business owners use to check the immigration status of prospective employees, would also likely shut down.
While Social Security recipients and other entitlement beneficiaries will get their checks, new applications won’t be processed during a shutdown.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.