Federal government shutdown: What would it mean for you?

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force would be closed in the event of a federal government shutdown. FILE
Caption
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force would be closed in the event of a federal government shutdown. FILE

If lawmakers don’t pass appropriations or a continuing resolution by Thursday, the last day of the federal government’s fiscal year, then the federal government shut downs at 12:01 am Friday.

Both the House and the Senate are weighing votes on fiscal year 2022 funding today.

“We can approve this measure quickly and send it to the House so it can reach the president’s desk before funding expires midnight tomorrow,” Majority Leader U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said.

There’s a second problem on the horizon for the government. The federal government will no longer be able to pay bills around Oct. 18 if lawmakers do not raise or suspend the national debt limit — raising the specter of the nation’s first default.

If there is a short government shutdown, most people won’t notice, at least at first. But some 350 people work for federal departments in a three-county region around Dayton that are typically affected by shutdowns when they happen.

And with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and surrounding federal contractors plentiful in Dayton’s backyard, the region is not positioned to weather a long shutdown unscathed.

Wright-Patterson is a big Air Force base with more than 30,000 uniformed, civilian and contractor employees, most of them working remotely. And that’s where one impact would be felt: Nationally, hundreds of thousands of federal workers could be furloughed if an enduring shutdown can’t be avoided.

A message with questions was sent Wednesday to a representative of the 88th Air Base Wing, the unit that acts as landlord to Wright-Patterson.

If there’s a government shutdown, the Dayton VA Medical Center would not be affected because of its mission, VA spokeswoman Rhonda Moore said. “We are considered essential and all of our services will remain open. Our employees will get paid as usual,” she said.

The VA has about 2,455 Dayton-area employees.

Even with a shutdown, Social Security and Medicare checks will continue to go out, but benefit verification and the issuance of new cards would be disrupted.

If there is a shutdown, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson would close, museum spokesman Rob Bardua said, with all events and activities suspended until an appropriation bill or continuing resolution is enacted.

Federal Reserve data shows about 19,700 civilian federal employees work in the Dayton metropolitan statistical area (Montgomery, Miami and Greene counties) as of August 2021.

The military will continue performing its missions, but pay increases or new funding boosts for the armed forces can be delayed by a shutdown. Typically, the federal departments of the Treasury; Agriculture; Homeland Security; Interior; State; Housing and Urban Development; Transportation; Commerce; and Justice are the most affected by shutdowns.

About 350 employees work for those departments within the Dayton MSA, according to the federal Office of Personnel Management.

In 2018, about 850,000 of 2.1 million non-postal service federal employees were furloughed nationally, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

About the Author

ajc.com