Today: Jan 21 , 2019

The Government Has Shut Down: What That Means

20 January 2018  

What a Government shutdown means.

Big Idea:

The government is shut down.

What you need to know:

  • The appropriations funding bill has not been passed in the Senate.
  • "Non-essential" employees are placed on furlough.
  • Employees working in areas of public safety an dnational security will keep working. 
  • The Grand Canyon will remain open, according to Governor Ducey, although some national parks will have only limited access.
  • Social Security checks will continue to be processed.

Why the shut down?

Basically because the spending bill that appropriates funds has to be passed in Congress and signed by President Trump to keep the government functioning as normal on a day to day basis.

The House passed a bill. But the Senate could not muster the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation. Democrats want a deal to prevent the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from expiring. Republicans say that is unrelated to the budget and they do not think the entire country should be held hostage to an immigration matter. (Read more about DACA here and here.)

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake voted against the appropriations bill, because he claims he was promised a DACA bill in January and that hasn't happened. Senator John McCain is still in Arizona undergoing treatment for brain cancer and did not vote.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on the matter:

What the Government Shutdown Means:

"Non-essential" employees will be placed on furlough until a funding deal is reached. (They won’t have to go to work, but they will almost certainly be paid retroactively when the shutdown is over.)

  • Federal employees responsible for public safety and national security will keep working.
  • Mail service will continue.
  • Some national parks may close, while others will offer limited access in some cases. Governor Ducey has promised, "The Grand Canyon will not close on our watch. Period." Ducey said funding is available to keep the Grand Canyon open. (See the Governor’s statement below.)
  • Arizona State Parks and Trails will stay open.
  • About 62% of the White House staff will be placed on furlough, according to the White House Contingency Plan.
  • The military is expected to report for duty as normal. Their pay is currently funded through February 1. If it continues past that date, they may have to work without pay. 
  • Civilian Department of Defense employees will be placed on furlough.
  • Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation unit will continue. 
  • Air Traffic Control and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue working. Airports are still operating, although delays should be planned for.
  • Social Security payments are still being processed.
  • Medicare and Medicaid are still running.
  • VA hospitals are open and operating.
  • The IRS will furlough approximately 87% of their workers, essentially shutting down the agency for the time being.
  • Most employees at the Department of Education will be furloughed.
  • Federal prisons will continue to function.
  • The sun and moon are expected to continue normal operations.

Governor Ducey: ‘The Grand Canyon Will Not Close On Our Watch. Period.’

State Is Prepared To Provide Resources To Keep The Grand Canyon Open During A Federal Shutdown

PHOENIX – Governor Doug Ducey today announced that in the event of a federal government shutdown, the state of Arizona is prepared to provide resources to keep the Grand Canyon open. The state is partnering in this effort with the National Park Service, with help from Arizona State Parks and Trails and the Arizona Office of Tourism.

The Grand Canyon hosts more than six million visitors per year and is a major travel destination for visitors from around the world. Keeping the Grand Canyon open to these visitors is a priority to the state as is continuing to protect the natural and cultural resources that Arizona offers. The Grand Canyon also is a major economic pillar for surrounding communities in rural Arizona. Governor Ducey is committed to providing funding and assistance to maintain operations.

“The Grand Canyon will not close on our watch. Period,” said Governor Ducey. “If Washington, D.C. won’t function, Arizona will. By working together with the National Park Service, and with dollars from our Parks and Tourism departments, we have identified state resources and will make sure the Grand Canyon stays open. Don’t change your travel plans, because Arizona is open for business – regardless of what happens back in Congress.”

The gateway town of Tusayan and the partner services provided by the Grand Canyon National Park have committed to remaining open, including lodging, food, beverages, and retail. Services, campsites, and trails will be open at the Grand Canyon National Park.

Arizona State Parks and Trails faces no closures and has parks with cabins, campsites and hiking trails as well as thousands of miles of trails throughout the state.

For information about all Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit


Congressman Biggs' Statement on the Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Biggs released the following statement on the federal government's shutdown:

“This government closure can be laid at the feet of the Democrats and the United States Senate. Democrats are withholding government funding to give amnesty to illegal aliens, and the Senate has ignored the House-passed budget we sent them over four months ago.

“There are two ways out of this current mess. Senate Democrats can come to their senses and vote for the continuing resolution or Senate leadership can suspend its unconstitutional 60-vote rule and let the majority of the Senate vote this resolution out of that body.

“We must eventually pass a budget into law because continuing resolutions perpetuates fiscal irresponsibility and harm our military personnel. That's why I supported a continuing resolution that would have fully funded the military for the remainder of the fiscal year, and kept the rest of the government open. 

“Even though the last three months have produced more revenue for the federal government than ever, we will run a deficit of more than $1 trillion dollars for the current fiscal year because our spending is out of control. Why is that? Because Congress uses these short-term spending gimmicks called ‘continuing resolutions’ instead of cutting spending. 

“Congress must resolve to pass a long-term budget that provides stability. We cannot afford to return to negotiations month after month - especially with artificial deadlines. I will continue to demand that my colleagues join me in solving this perpetual problem by producing a balanced budget.”


Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.