So... it's shutdown time. Let's take a look at how this will work.
Not all government functions will simply evaporate come Oct. 1 — Social Security checks will still get mailed, and veterans' hospitals will stay open. But many federal agencies will shut their doors and send their employees home, from the Environmental Protection Agency to hundreds of national parks.
Here's a look at how a shutdown will work, which parts of the government will close, and which parts of the economy might be affected.
Wait, what? Why is the federal government on the verge of shutting down?
Short answer: There are wide swaths of the federal government that need to be funded each year in order to operate. If Congress can't agree on how to fund them, they have to close down. And, right now, Congress can't agree on how to fund them.
To get a bit more specific: Each year, the House and Senate are supposed to agree on 12 appropriations bills to fund the federal agencies and set spending priorities. Congress has become really bad at passing these bills, so in recent years they've resorted to stopgap budgets to keep the government funded (known as "continuing resolutions"). The last stopgap passed on March 28, 2013, and ends on Sept. 30.
In theory, Congress could pass another stopgap before Tuesday. But the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House are at odds over what that stopgap should look like.
The House passed a funding bill over the weekend that delayed Obamacare for one year and repealed a tax on medical devices. The Senate rejected that measure. They voted a few more times and still no agreement. So... we're getting a shutdown.
Does a shutdown mean everyone who works for the federal government has to go home?
Click here to continue: wonkblog