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The deadline to fund the federal government is Friday. But with hours to go, negotiations remain stuck over funding for a border wall, meaning Americans could kick off the holidays with a partial government shutdown.
President Donald Trump is demanding $5 billion for border wall funding but congressional Democrats have refused to agree. Instead, Democrats have offered Trump a one-year, stopgap funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security — or a one-year, stopgap spending bill for the seven remaining government agencies that still need funding to stay open.
So what would happen if the president and Congress can’t come to a resolution?
What would shut down?
Seventy-five percent of the federal government already has funding, through several previously-approved pieces of legislation. But a few agencies still need to be funded; they include the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Interior, Justice, Transportation and State, as well as some independent agencies like the National Park Service. That’s why, if a shutdown occurred, it would be a partial shutdown. The Grand Canyon and other National Parks could still be visited during the holidays if a shutdown takes place. But Park Service employees would be sent home, and only key personnel, like park rangers, would remain on the job.
Who works and who doesn’t?
More than 380,000 government employees would be furloughed, or put on leave, including about 16,000 employees at the National Park Service. But some personnel in key positions would continue to work, including more than 41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers, as well as thousands of Homeland Security employees, among them TSA agents, Forest Service firefighters, customs officers and members of the Coast Guard.
Do government workers get paid?
The 380,000-plus government employees who are not key personnel would not get paid during the shutdown, at least not now. The 420,000 key employees who would work through the potential shutdown would not get paid. Paychecks would be issued after the shutdown ends, and at that point Congress would decide whether to issue back pay for government employees who were furloughed or worked through the shutdown.
Saher Khan is a reporter-producer for the PBS NewsHour.
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