Government shutdown 2024: When could it happen and how it could affect you

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This is a repeat of the same message that has been happening for months, the United States government is teetering on the edge of a shutdown.

America now faces its fourth possible shutdown, as congressional leaders continue to work toward bills to fund programs for agriculture, food and drugs, energy and water, military construction, veterans affairs, transportation and housing. But progress has slowly been made.

In January, lawmakers brokered a $1.66 trillion spending agreement to keep the government's doors open in 2024, including $886.3 billion in defense spending and $772.7 billion in domestic, non-defense spending. But that part of the deal only postponed a possible shutdown.

Now, we are only two days out until a partial shutdown could occur.

In previous measures to avoid government shutdown, a majority of Tennessee U.S. congressional lawmakers voted no on stopgap measures.

In the November 2023 vote, U.S. Republican Reps. Tim Burchett, Scott DesJarlais, Mark Green, Andy Ogles, Diana Harshbarger and John Rose all voted no on the stopgap measure, along with Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn. Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and David Kustoff, along with Sen. Bill Hagerty voted yes for the measure. Hagerty, Kustoff and Fleischmann joined Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen in the yes vote.

When is federal government shutdown deadline?

There are two deadlines Congress must look at.

Funding for things like the federal transportation programs, housing and food plans and multiple other resources are set to expire on March 2. The deadline for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Labor, State and Defense is two weeks later on March 8.

What happens if the federal government shuts down?

If a federal government shutdown occurs, all officials and federal agencies that aren't deemed “essential” have to stop their work.

Who will be affected by a federal government shutdown?

Those who would feel the deepest losses are not the Congress members who will retain their pay during the shutdown, but members of the military who would serve without pay, numerous federal workers who would be furloughed, people that rely on WIC benefits to keep their babies fed and so many more.

Federal workers that are deemed "essential", like air traffic controllers, emergency personnel in national parks, etc., would work without pay, but they would receive backpay once a shutdown ends.

Will my Social Security still come if the government shuts down?

Yes.

The money for Social Security benefits is not part of the federal government's budget but is a separate fund.

Will Medicare benefits still be paid in a government shutdown?

Medicare benefits will continue, though there could be a delay in some payments.

Will WIC be available during a government shutdown?

Funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) couple be impacted immediately, according to a September 2023 press briefing with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Who does and doesn't get paid in a government shutdown?

Thousands of federal government employees will be put on furlough if a government shutdown occurs, but others that are deemed essential employees like the military, law enforcement and others will continue to work. During the shutdown, none of these employees will be paid but will receive back pay once the agency they work for is funded. In previous years Congress would vote if employees would receive back pay, but after the 2019 shutdown, it was made mandatory for employees to receive it.

Government contractors — who carried out nearly $700 billion worth of government work the last fiscal year — are not guaranteed back pay.

When has the federal government shutdown in the past?

Over the years, there have been 21 government shutdowns. The last one was in 2019 under former President Donald Trump which lasted 35 days.

Here's when shutdowns have occurred since 1976:

  • 1976: Under President Gerald Ford. Lasted for 11 days.

  • 1977: Under President Jimmy Carter. Lasted 12 days.

  • 1977: Under President Carter. Lasted eight days.

  • 1977: Under President Carter. Lasted eight days.

  • 1978: Under President Carter. Lasted 17 days.

  • 1979: Under President Carter. Lasted 11 days.

  • 1981: Under President Ronald Reagan. Lasted two days.

  • 1982: Under President Reagan. Lasted one day.

  • 1982: Under President Reagan. Lasted three days.

  • 1983: Under President Reagan. Lasted three days.

  • 1984: Under President Reagan. Lasted two days.

  • 1984: Under President Reagan. Lasted one day.

  • 1986: Under President Reagan. Lasted one day.

  • 1987: Under President Reagan. Lasted one day.

  • 1990: Under George H.W. Bush. Lasted four days.

  • 1995: Under President Bill Clinton. Lasted five days.

  • 1996: Under President Clinton. Lasted 21 days.

  • 2013: Under President Barack Obama. Lasted 17 days.

  • 2018: Under President Donald Trump. Lasted three days.

  • 2018: Under President Trump. Lasted several hours.

  • 2019: Under Trump. Lasted 35 days.

USA Today contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Who is affected by a government shutdown? Here's what happens