Home Business Economy & Politics US shutdown 2013: Who is affected?

US shutdown 2013: Who is affected?

As the US Congress has failed to agree a budget by October 1st and a federal government shutdown has begun, more than 700,000 federal workers will be sent home and national parks, museums, federal buildings and services closed down.

How will key departments be affected by the government shutdown?

Department of Defense

The nation’s 1.4 million active-duty uniformed military personnel will stay on duty.

About half of the defense department’s 800,000 civilian employees will have to stop work, but there is a blanket exception for activities that “provide for the national security”.

But where employees are needed to work, they may have to do so without pay:

“Military and other civilians directed to work would be paid retroactively once the lapse of appropriation ends,” according to Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale.


Department of Energy

Most Department of Energy facilities will close, with only 1,113 out of 13,814 required to work.

Exemptions include staff overseeing the safety of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and operating dams and power lines across the country.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons and naval reactor programmes, will have 343 employees on duty to “perform functions related to the safety of human life and the protection of property”.

More than 400 employees will stay on to work at the Southwestern Power Administration and the Western Area Power Administration, which are in charge of overseeing hydroelectric power and power lines in the south and western US.

Some staff in other areas will remain at work to oversee “the protection of human life and property”.

A federal government shutdown has begun as the US Congress has failed to agree a budget by October 1st

A federal government shutdown has begun as the US Congress has failed to agree a budget by October 1st

Department of Transportation

Transport roles ranging from air traffic control to airport and hazardous materials inspections will continue and 36,987 out of 55,468 personnel will remain at work.

Staff involved in overseeing commercial space launches would also continue operations – as at least one of a succession of launches will occur between the end of September and the first week in October in support of the International Space Station, according to the department.

Suspended activities will include facility security inspections, routine personnel security background investigations and the employee drug testing program.

Smithsonian Institution

The National Zoo and 19 museums and galleries, including the Natural History Museum, the Portrait Gallery and the Air and Space Museum, would close.

Of the 4,202 employees, 688 will be retained to “protect life and property” – security guards, maintenance staff and people to care for and feed the animals at the National Zoo.

The Smithsonian Institution says: “During a shutdown, the Institution cannot legally accept voluntary services from federal employees to continue their regular duties.”

National Parks

National parks – from Yosemite to Alcatraz and the Statue of Liberty – will be shut down with 3,266 essential staff out of 24,645 remaining on duty. These will include some fire management, law enforcement and emergency responders.

Day-use visitors will be instructed to leave the park immediately and visitors using overnight facilities will be asked to make alternative arrangements and leave.

Where possible, park roads will be closed and access denied.

Department of Homeland Security

About 86% of the Department of Homeland Security’s 240,000 employees are expected to be exempt from the shutdown, including uniformed agents and officers at the country’s borders and ports of entry.

Most members of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are exempt.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will continue to process green card applications.

Department of Justice

Of 114,486 Department of Justice employees, an estimated 96,744 will be exempt from the shutdown.

All Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and support personnel in the field will be exempt as their operations are focused on national security and investigations involving protection of life and property.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents working on active counternarcotics investigations, agents in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and US attorneys will be exempt.

Staff at federal prisons will also be expected to work

US Postal Service

The self-funded US Postal Service will remain open and deliver as usual. The agency receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations and relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running.

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