ATLANTA — As the U.S. Congress inches closer to a shutdown, over budget concerns and appropriations legislation, there are a variety of programs, locations, and jobs that will be impacted by a lack of federal funds.
The deadline to reach an agreement and avoid a shutdown is Saturday, and as reported by the Associated Press, the gridlock in Washington remains firmly in place.
For Georgia, even a temporary break in federal funds will have impacts across a wide range of state activities.
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Programs: Food, Health, Education and more
Among the various programs operating in Georgia that will be paused during a potential government shutdown are several initiatives and benefits for low-income families.
While the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also called food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as welfare, will continue paying benefits to those receiving them, customer service operations will be delayed as federal funds pay for staffing needs in the different management offices.
Similarly, Georgia’s Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries, as well as those on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, will face a similar potential with delays for service if there’s a problem with their benefits releases.
Additionally, Georgia’s Head Start program, which provides early learning and development assistance to low-income families with young children up to the age of 5, would have to shut down during a governmental pause.
Housing assistance, such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in addition to more traditional housing programs like Section 8 vouchers for low-income, disabled, elderly, and some veterans who receive help paying rent from federal funds.
Research programs that use federal funding may not have to shut down, but work could be delayed or slowed down to accommodate the lack of active funding.
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Work but no pay for some federal employees
While some federal employees will be furloughed, meaning they’ll be sent home temporarily instead of remaining at work, not all workers will be impacted the same way.
For federal law enforcement agencies, border patrol, and other workers deemed essential will remain working full-time but will not be paid during a potential shutdown. This includes members of the military in all branches.
In terms of direct impact to Georgians, the U.S. Military employed 63,873 active duty personnel as of September 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. That means all 12 military bases in Georgia would be affected.
Georgia officials said the state is ranked fifth for total DOD military, civilian, reserve, and national guard employment levels across the U.S., and that the U.S. Army employs 63% of Georgia’s military personnel. The Air Force employs another 23%, while the Navy and Marine Corps employ 11% and another 3% are employed by other defense activities.
The White House confirmed Tuesday, according to the U.S. Army, that civilian military employees would be furloughed, while reserve troops will continue to work, but non-active training programs will not be held.
For National Guard and Reserve members, Georgia’s 26,512 personnel would remain unpaid alongside their active duty comrades. The state’s 33,442 civilian personnel would be furloughed.
The total federal civilian workforce, which includes military personnel, was 77,034 as of March, according to the Congressional Research Service. All of those employees would be furloughed amid a shutdown.
Additionally, 59% of CDC staff would be furloughed, with 41% remaining active for administrative or other staff working on activities for the safety of human life, protection of property, and others required for authorized continuation of those activities.
National Parks and Museums
Georgia is home to 12 national parks, which would all likely close during a government shutdown.
That means fan favorites would have to close until Congress is able to agree on a spending bill. Georgia national parks include:
- Andersonville National Historic Site (Camp Sumter military prison, Andersonville National Cemetery, National Prisoner of War Museum)
- The Appalachian Trail
- The National Recreation Area of Chattahoochee River
- The National Military Park at Chickamauga (Battlefield Visitor Center)
- The National Seashore at Cumberland Island
- Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island
- Fort Pulaski
- The Jimmy Carter National Historical Park and Boyhood Home in Plains, Ga.
- Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park and Birth Home in Atlanta
- The Ocmulgee Mounds in Macon
- The Trail of Tears
Museums that receive federal funding, such as the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, would also close during the shutdown.
Who else could be impacted, or not impacted, when it comes to unpaid work?
While many of the federal programs and agencies will see staffing reduced temporarily amid a budget shutdown, and others would have staff work without pay until an agreement is reached, the President of the United States and all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate would still receive their paychecks.
Congressional staff, and others working in the Executive Branch, would likely work unpaid or be furloughed until a potential shutdown ends. Executive Branch staff includes staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, staff at the Social Security Administration, staff at the Internal Revenue Service and even air traffic controllers.
However, the U.S. Postal Service will remain fully operational and staffed, as they are a self-funded agency.
Several federally subsidized programs or businesses such as Amtrak and airports more generally, will remain in operation, though delays due to fewer staff could be expected as a result of a potential shutdown.
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