What Closes During A Government Shutdown? Here's What You Should Expect If It Happens

Allison Shelley/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Considering what went down on Tuesday in a heated discussion held among House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and President Donald Trump, you might have a question on your mind. What closes during a government shutdown? There are a few things you should expect if it ends up happening.

On Tuesday, Trump told Pelosi and Schumer that he would be "proud" if such a shutdown took place. The president gave the remark during a discussion about border security and the billions of dollars in funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall — a measure that still would require votes from Democrats in the Senate as well as House GOP members.

If an agreement is not reached between Trump and differing congressional members, a partial government shutdown could take place on Dec. 21. This particular shutdown may not affect a lot of things, as CNN reported that 75 percent of the federal funding for September 2019 had already been allocated to different departments. Typically, a shutdown like this would affect the nonessential parts of the government.

Consider a national park as an example. Operations for such an agency could be halted during a government shutdown. And while it may be a pain to not visit one, it's a much bigger issue for the employees of such a park as a government shutdown could halt or delay their wages, among other things.

Sometimes government shutdowns affect even more critical agencies. In the 2013 government shutdown, agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program, and the Environment Protection Agency had to halt their key operations.

Given the gravity of the situation, you may think that government shutdowns are very rare things. After all, they affect the funding, execution, and day-to-day operations of federal agencies and the people who work for them. But Trump has had two government shutdowns so far. One took place on Jan. 20 and then another happened on Feb. 8. If this shutdown occurs on Dec. 21, it'll be Trump's third.

In contrast, former President Barack Obama had only one government shutdown. And that happened in the aforementioned case of 2013. During that year, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate disagreed over defunding the Affordable Care Act. In Trump's three shutdowns, immigration policy has been a recurring issue, among others.

Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

While national parks and other nonessential aspects of the government temporarily pause under a shutdown, the critical agencies continue running. This includes operations related to Social Security, air traffic regulation, army-related ventures, and a few other things.

The silver lining in this cloudy situation is that, based on CNN's report, much of the federal financing for departmental work is already handed out. The news network mentioned that the Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor had already gotten the funding they needed.

But departments like that of Homeland Security, Interior services, Housing and Urban Development, and others still need funding to run. In the event that this partial shutdown happens, many of these federal employees will have to wait for their paychecks.