Government shutdown updates: Will national parks close? When was the last shutdown?

WASHINGTON−The shutdown countdown is on, and Congress has hours to avert a crisis that would impact millions of Americans.

But despite the dwindling time, feuding lawmakers are no less entrenched in their positions.

A small group of hard-right Republicans who represent a sliver of America is set to send the entire country into a federal government shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Sunday − a situation that would disproportionately impact people who need the most help. Those who would feel the deepest losses include babies who rely on WIC benefits for formula, members of the military who would serve without pay, numerous federal workers who would be furloughed, travelers who wait in long TSA lines and more.

Here's where things stand in the shutdown fight and what it means for you.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) departs from the U.S. Capitol Building on September 29, 2023 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives failed to pass a temporary funding bill to avert a government shutdown, with 21 Republicans joining Democrats in defiance of U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Sen. Ron Johnson proposes new stopgap measure

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on Friday afternoon proposed his own solution to averting the shutdown: a 14-day continuing resolution – or stopgap measure – that has no policies attached.

The Senate’s current continuing resolution uses the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act as its legislative vehicle to pass in the upper chamber.

“It’s a very common sense approach. It’s something we all ought to agree one,” Johnson said. His bill extends government funding for two additional weeks.

But Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and played a key role in putting together the Senate’s current continuing resolution, objected to Johnson’s legislation calling it a “slap-dash” bill.

“We can’t be back in this same situation in two weeks,” she said on the Senate floor.

Johnson’s bill, because of Murray's objection, will have to go through the normal legislative process on the Senate floor. It is unlikely Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would bring Johnson's bill to the floor for a vote given the Senate's other proposed version.

− Rachel Looker

When is the deadline for the government shutdown?

The U.S. government will shut down at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 1 if lawmakers don't pass a continuing resolution or a federal budget by Sept. 30.

The continuing resolution, a stopgap measure that would temporarily fund the government while lawmakers work to pass a comprehensive budget, would prevent a shutdown from occurring on Oct. 1.

The House will voted Friday on a continuing resolution, but it didn't have enough votes to pass.

−Sudiksha Kochi

Is the National Weather Service impacted in a shutdown?

Forecasts from the National Weather Service will continue uninterrupted despite the shutdown, a spokesperson told USA TODAY Friday. "Under a lapse of appropriation, the day-to-day operational work of the National Weather Service continues," said Sarah Teefey of the weather service.

"The work of the NWS is critical and necessary to protect life and property in the country and parts of the world through international agreements," she said. "Weather service offices will continue to operate on their regular schedule."

In addition:

  • National Weather Service observations, forecasts and warnings, as well as decision support services, will continue uninterrupted.

  • Critical functions such as repair of operational systems, like radars, will continue.

  • Routine equipment maintenance, model upgrades, new product development, and other longer-term improvements to service delivery will be delayed.

−Doyle Rice

In another setback for McCarthy, House GOP fails to pass short-term spending bill

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faced another setback Friday afternoon, as House Republicans failed to pass a short-term measure to avert a government shutdown.

McCarthy has been insistent on passing the GOP plan to better position House Republicans in negotiations with the Democratic-controlled Senate. But hardline conservatives, who have impeded almost all progress towards averting a shutdown, tanked the stopgap on the floor.

Despite the little time remaining, Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., one of the hardliners, told USA TODAY he would like to see the House proceed with passing the 12 appropriation bills to avert a shutdown, as opposed to a temporary spending measure.

Rep. Chip Roy., R-Texas, one of the House’s ultraconservatives but a key negotiator who has attempted to bridge the gap between moderate GOP lawmakers and the hard-right, lambasted his fellow conservatives for taking down the stopgap bill.

“We could have had time to get votes on more individual appropriation bills, passing a bill that secures the border,” a frustrated Roy told reporters Friday, referring to the border security provisions in the stopgap that failed. “But apparently that wasn’t good enough.”

−Ken Tran

President Biden won’t meet with McCarthy before government shuts down

The White House said Friday that President Joe Biden will not meet with McCarthy to negotiate a deal before the government shuts down, demanding that House Republicans act to avoid a crisis of their making.

“The conversation that needs to happen is between speaker McCarthy and his caucus,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Biden plans to spend the weekend in Washington and will be in touch with members of Congress, the White House said. The House voted Friday afternoon to defeat a resolution backed by hardline Republicans to keep the government operating for 30 days in exchange for 30% cuts that the White House warned would be “devastating.”

−Joey Garrison and Francesca Chambers

OMB Director Shalanda Young blasts McCarthy for imminent shutdown

Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, accused McCarthy and House Republicans - by pursuing major spending cuts - of reneging on a bipartisan deal that passed Congress by wide margins in June to raise the debt ceiling and set spending limits.

Young said 30% cuts to many domestic services would eliminate 12,000 FBI agents, 1,000 ATF agents, 500 local law enforcement official and cut 300,000 children from the federal Head Start program and 1 million seniors from nutrition services. If a measure isn’t passed, the alternative is a potential cropping shutdown.

“What kind of choice is that?” Young said. “We're doing everything we can to plead, beg, shame House Republicans to do the right thing. Don’t have this happen.”

Young also chastised McCarthy saying he won’t accept a paycheck during a shutdown "political theater" because members of Congress must get paid under the Constitution.

"Maybe he'll put it in a sock drawer, I don't know," she said. "I will tell you the guy who picks up trash in my office won't get a paycheck That's real. And that's what makes me angry."

−Joey Garrison and Francesca Chambers

Moderates try to avert shutdown: ‘We’ll do what we need to do’

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, a group evenly divided between centrist Democrats and Republicans, told reporters Friday that his coalition of lawmakers is looking to force a bipartisan solution on the floor to avert a shutdown.

The group, which includes 31 Republicans, has been privately discussing a fallback plan if Congress fails to pass a funding package to avoid a shutdown. The plan would effectively sidestep House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as speaker and force a vote on the House floor without the speaker’s approval. The archaic process, referred to as a discharge petition, would need the support of 218 members.

“We gotta find a way to get the two-party bill on the floor. And we’ll see if it happens on its own. If it doesn’t, we’ll do what we need to do,” Fitzpatrick said.

When asked if their bipartisan solution would be on the floor by the Sept. 30 deadline, Fitzpatrick said “we’ll find out.”

− Ken Tran

How long was the last government shutdown?

The last government shutdown lasted from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019. Spanning 35 days, it was the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

It was also the third federal shutdown to occur during the Trump administration; the first lasted three days in January 2018, and the second lasted only a few hours in February 2018.

−Olivia Munson

How long do government shutdowns last?

Over the last five decades, there have been 21 federal shutdowns:

  • 1976: Under President Gerald Ford. Lasted for 11 days.

  • 1977: Under President Jimmy Carter. Lasted 12 days.

  • 1977: Under President Carter. Lasted eight days.

  • 1977: Under President Carter. Lasted eight days.

  • 1978: Under President Carter. Lasted 17 days.

  • 1979: Under President Carter. Lasted 11 days.

  • 1981: Under President Ronald Reagan. Lasted two days.

  • 1982: Under President Reagan. Lasted one day.

  • 1982: Under President Reagan. Lasted three days.

  • 1983: Under President Reagan. Lasted three days.

  • 1984: Under President Reagan. Lasted two days.

  • 1984: Under President Reagan. Lasted one day.

  • 1986: Under President Reagan. Lasted one day.

  • 1987: Under President Reagan. Lasted one day.

  • 1990: Under George H.W. Bush. Lasted four days.

  • 1995: Under President Bill Clinton. Lasted five days.

  • 1996: Under President Clinton. Lasted 21 days.

  • 2013: Under President Barack Obama. Lasted 17 days.

  • 2018: Under President Donald Trump. Lasted three days.

  • 2018: Under President Trump. Lasted several hours.

  • 2019: Under Trump. Lasted 35 days.

-Olivia Munson

Why would a government shutdown happen?

A government shutdown takes place when Congress is unable to pass a dozen annual spending bills that funnel money to government programs and agencies.

A shutdown is likely when both chambers in Congress − the House and Senate − can’t come to an agreement on how much money to allocate to certain agencies or agree on certain spending provisions, putting federal agencies at risk. A partial government shutdown can occur if Congress is able to pass any of the 12 individual spending bills.

When both chambers can't reach a compromise, funding levels expire and federal agencies must cease all non-essential function.

−Rachel Looker

Will Social Security be paid if there's a government shutdown?

Social Security recipients will continue to receive checks in the event of a government shutdown and Medicare benefits will not be interrupted.

However, employees in the Social Security Administration are likely to be furloughed and government food assistance benefits could see delay.

A few services that are not directly related to Social Security payment benefits and direct-service operations would be temporarily suspended.

− Marina Pitofsky and Sudiksha Kochi

Will a government shutdown affect Medicare?

Medicare benefits will continue, though there could be a delay in some payments.

The benefits are considered among essential services, along with air travel, Amtrak, Social Security payments and more.

-Candy Woodall

Short-term funding bill: What is a continuing resolution?

The House on Friday failed to pass a continuing resolution, a stopgap measure that would buy time − 30 days − for Congress to do its main job of passing spending bills without a shutdown. But members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus voted against it.

A Senate version of a continuing resolution will be up for a vote Saturday. It would give Congress until Nov. 17 to pass spending bills. But the Senate's bipartisan plan won't pass the House.

Lawmakers are no closer to averting a government shutdown.

-Candy Woodall

Will mail be delivered in a government shutdown?

The Postal Service is an independent entity generally funded by the sale of its products and services − not tax dollars − and it will not be impacted by a government shutdown, USPS said in a statement. Because it's not impacted, employees will be paid normally.

"Postal Service operations will not be interrupted in the event of a government shutdown, and all Post Offices will remain open for business as usual," the statement said.

−Candy Woodall

How does the government shutdown affect me?

Millions of Americans would be impacted by a government shutdown.

Federal workers would be furloughed without pay. "Essential" federal workers, such as those who work for the Federal Aviation Administration, would work without pay − but would receive backpay once a shutdown ends. Numerous subcontractors would be out of work and would not receive backpay.

The impact would stretch far beyond federal workers though. It would also be felt in millions of homes across America.

Here are some ways a government shutdown would impact your family:

  • Funding for WIC − the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children − would stop immediately

  • Food stamp benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would remain intact in October but could be impacted after that

  • Children from low-income families would lose access to Head Start preschool programs

  • College students could see delays in their student loans

  • The Food and Drug Administration would delay nonessential food safety inspections

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would limit its work

  • Travelers could see delays with receiving passports

  • National parks could close

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would have no money for disaster relief

  • Agencies that publish government data, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will close up shop. That means investors and other market-watchers might not get to see the jobs report scheduled for October 6 or the monthly Consumer Price Index update on October 12

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission would scale back operations, potentially delaying work on initial public offerings, which require federal scrutiny. Birkenstock, the sandal brand, has signaled it expects to proceed with its October IPO

−Candy Woodall and Daniel de Vise

Will passports be affected in a government shutdown?

The State Department wrote in its contingency plan that scheduled passports and visa services in the U.S. and at U.S. embassies and consulates will continue during a shutdown “as the situation permits.”

However, the department did warn that if a passport agency in a government building becomes affected by the shutdown, “the facility may become unsupported.”

−Sudiksha Kochi

National parks to close if government shuts down

The Biden administration said Friday it will be forced to close the majority of national parks if the government shuts down at the end of the week resulting in funding to lapse.

“Gates will be locked, visitor centers will be closed, and thousands of park rangers will be furloughed” at national parks across the country, the Interior Department said in a statement. The public will be encouraged not to visit park sites during a shutdown.

The National Mall in Washington, Washington Monument and other park sites that are “physically accessible” to the public will remain accessible but staffing will vary site to site and not be guaranteed.

The National Park System has 425 individual sites that includes 63 national parks made up of iconic landmarks like the Grand Canyon National Park, Everglades National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

-Joey Garrison

No Fat Bear Week in a shutdown

The National Park Service’s annual tournament was slated to begin next Wednesday. But in a government shutdown during which only essential employees charged with protecting park resources and providing safety assistance stay on the job, there would be no staff to run Fat Bear Week online.

Fat Bear Week is a bracket-style competition and decade-long annual tradition to crown people’s favorite fat bear in Katmai National Park and Preserve.

−Savannah Kuchar 

Dianne Feinstein death comes just 36 hours before government shutdown

This week on Capitol Hill has brought a looming government shutdown, an impeachment inquiry hearing into President Joe Biden, a senator’s indictment and a senator’s death – all happening in the last five days.

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s death falls just 36 hours before funding for federal agencies and programs is set to expire. The final countdown is on for lawmakers in both chambers to try to pass a stopgap measure that would avert a government shutdown, but odds aren't in their favor.

In what has become Feinstein's last vote on the Senate floor, the longest-serving female senator voted for the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act, which is being used as the legislative vehicle to pass the Senate’s continuing resolution -- or stopgap measure -- that would avert a shutdown.

− Rachel Looker

Latest news on the government shutdown

With just one day before the Sept. 30 funding deadline, McCarthy sought to lay the blame of a shutdown at the feet of Democrats and the White House for refusing to entertain the border security provisions House Republicans have been pushing for.

McCarthy scoffed at the notion of agreeing to the Senate’s bipartisan version of a stopgap measure to keep the government open, saying at a press conference he won’t “surrender.”

“If you want to fight for the American public, to secure our borders and keep government open, how is that a problem?” McCarthy said. “What I want to do is stand for America.”

− Ken Tran

Will military get paid in a government shutdown?

Military officials prepared Friday to cut pay for troops and civilians, and close offices and activities deemed not essential to national security as the deadline nears for the government shutdown that is expected to begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Troops will remain deployed to hotspots around the world, and civilians in critical chair-borne commands at the Pentagon and elsewhere will remain on job. But none will be paid unless an agreement on government spending or legislation authorizing military pay is reached.

“If there is a shutdown in just a few days, our service members would be required to continue working but would be doing so without pay, and hundreds and thousands of their civilian colleagues would be furloughed,” Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, told reporters Thursday. “A government shutdown is a worst-case scenario for the department, so we continue to ask Congress to do its job and fund the government.”

−Tom Vanden Brook

Biden said it would be a "disgrace" to have unpaid troops in a shutdown

President Joe Biden briefly weighed in on the looming government shutdown during a Friday retirement ceremony for Army Gen. Mark Milley, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He said the shutdown and its attendant failure to pay troops would be a “disgrace.”

“We can’t be playing politics while our troops stand in the breach,” Biden said.

−Tom Vanden Brook

Close, but no cigar: House passes 3 spending bills

The House passed three individual spending bills late Thursday evening. While it may seem like progress, the passage does not bring Congress any closer to averting a shutdown.

House Republicans voted on four individual spending bills. The lower chamber passed the Defense, Homeland Security and Department of State and Foreign Operations bills, but failed to pass one on Agriculture spending.

Earlier this summer, the lower chamber passed the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act which brings the grand total of spending bills passed in the House to four out of 12 total hours before the government will shutdown.

−Rachel Looker 

How does a government shutdown affect the stock market?

While a potential shutdown isn’t expected to have much of an impact on the stock market, experts say it has contributed to the S&P 500's more than 5% dip so far this month, to 4,275.

It's “one of the reasons why you've seen the market weaken,” according to Marc Zabicki, chief investment officer of LPL Financial. But after the potential shutdown begins, “I don't know that you're going to get any stark reaction from asset markets come Oct. 2 next week. I think it's already largely been built into prices.”

While the looming shutdown is contributing to the recent market dip, it’s not the only driver.

September is also a historically weak month for stocks, according to Jeffrey A. Hirsch, CEO of Hirsch Holdings and editor-in-chief of the Stock Trader's Almanac.

Meanwhile, there are a "lot of other items going on" that are affecting the market, including higher interest rates, looming student loan payments, the United Auto Workers strike, rising oil prices and more, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P Dow Jones Indices

“We're in a very volatile time now," Silverblatt said.

 Bailey Schulz and Daniel de Vise

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Government shutdown updates: What happens in a government shutdown?