I woke up this morning to a flurry of alarmist stat updates decrying the government shut down that began today. Thing is, they didn’t actually state any real information, just a general “Good Lawd, Almighty, duh gubmint dun stopped runnin’!” Having not had a single drop of coffee, I didn’t have the patience for the Chicken Littles of my Newsfeed, so I checked my email instead. That took all of a minute, so I soon found myself back on Facebook (yeah, it’s an addiction… is there a 12 Steps for that?). Thankfully, this time, I ran smackdab into the sanity of my beautiful friend Kel who wrote:
shutdown = sucks. but we survived the one in 1995 – 1996 (for 28 days) and we’ll deal with this too. the aliens from the movie “independence day” didn’t take over then and they won’t now…no matter what your best friend’s fiance’s mom’s boss’s sister’s cousin’s best friend posted as their status. no, it’s not fair to anyone, but don’t panic before researching if an administration that you need to be up and running is or isn’t. some are, but are limited to what is deemed essential or non-essential.
hums theme to “the more you know” commercials…
Let me help you out there, Kel:
She also shared a link to a very helpful story on what is actually being, you know, shut down. From NBC Washington:
No national parks. No Smithsonian. (And no Panda Cam.) No new applications for social security, no tax audits, no way to check that the employee you want to hire is a citizen.
The government officially shut down at midnight Oct. 1. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers were furloughed, and some of the D.C.-based services tourists and locals alike rely on will be closed.
Here’s a list of what you likely can and can’t do during a government shutdown. We’ll be adding to the list; if you know of something we’ve left off, and we’ll research it.
During a shutdown, you can:
Get help from 911: All emergency services will continue as usual, including law enforcement and emergency and disaster assistance.
Get caught by a red light camera in D.C.: Red light cameras will still be running, and tickets will still be sent out, which brings us to the next item on the list….
Get mail: Employees of the United States Postal Service are exempt from furloughs.
Get your Social Security benefits: Payments will still be issued, although some could be delayed due to a reduction in workforce.
Get a passport, probably: The Bureau of Consular Affairs is funded by fees rather than appropriated funds, so it will continue to operate, a spokesperson tells NBC Washington. However, some State Department passport offices are located in federal buildings that may have to shut down, so you should check to see if your preferred passport office is open before visiting.
Sign up for healthcare exchanges: Despite the GOP’s attempts to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, the plan is already funded, and online healthcare exchanges are scheduled to open Tuesday for uninsured Americans. (Read more.)
Get your trash picked up, even if you live in D.C.: Even if Mayor Vincent Gray’s attempt to declare all city workers essential is rejected, the district has about two weeks’ worth of money on hand already authorized by Congress, which might be enough to wait out a fairly brief shutdown.
Be protected by the U.S. military: All active-duty military personnel are exempt from furloughs, and Congress has approved a measure to continue to pay troops on time.
To find out more, click here. Now calm down.