Everything You Need to Know About the US Government Shutdown

The federal government shut down Saturday at midnight ET after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a spending bill before deadline. With its effects being felt across the country, here are some ways you and your family will be affected.

How did something like this even happen — again?

The Senate came 10 votes short of reaching a temporary funding deal to keep the government running through Feb. 16. Democrats said they will not vote for a spending bill until an agreement is reached on DACA, the program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as kids.

Meanwhile, Republicans do not want to fix DACA unless Democrats give more on border security enhancements, including money for President Trump's border wall.

Will mail be delivered?

Yes, mail will be delivered. Also, U.S. troops will stay at their posts. But if you work for the government, expect an indefinite leave of absence. Almost half of the 2 million civilian federal works are barred from doing their jobs if a shutdown extends into Monday. It was reported that more than 850,000 "non-essential" federal workers had to stay home during the last shutdown in 2013.

Do income taxes still need to be filed?

Of course! When it comes to money, the U.S. government never sleeps. But while the bulk of Internal Revenue Service employees will be on a leave of absence, you still need to file your tax returns by April 17. If you're expecting a refund, that will be delayed.

Will I still be able to obtain a gun permit?

Probably not until a decision is made because many employees at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives won't be working.

Will families receive their Social Security checks?

Yes, because it's considered an essential and necessary service by the U.S. government. Checks will still be issued during the shutdown, and food stamps will continue to be disbursed.

What will happen to children's health insurance?

This has been a big chunk of the debate. Because of the shutdown, more than 9 million children whose parents usually earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet not enough for private health coverage are less certain today about solid health care. Though Trump called for CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, to be part of a "long-term solution," the Republicans are just as confused as the president contradicted his own administrations plans, proving no one has a solution on the matter.

Does this affect travel plans?


No. Reason being because air traffic controllers, TSA agents, border patrol agents and others are considered essential employees, providing necessary services. Amtrak will continue to run, as will subways, and the National Weather Service will keep monitoring weather.

Does Congress still get paid?

Yep. And the president continues to get paid as well, partly because it's written into law. It should be noted though that this is the first time in U.S. history that the first modern government shutdown with Congress and the White House is actually controlled by the same party.