Here's How the Shutdown Will Work

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013 08:25 AM

By Elliot Jager

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It's official. The government of the United States shut down at midnight Monday. It is the first partial shutdown of government services since Bill Clinton's administration 17 years ago.

If you're wondering what approximately 800,000 Federal employees nationwide might be doing with no offices to go to, some in the Washington D.C. vicinity will be heading to synagogue – not for ecumenical prayers but to practice yoga, improve their gaming skills, watch television and generally just hang out.

Starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday the liberal Sixth & I Synagogue, founded in 1852 and located in the capital's Chinatown neighborhood, has donated its space to office-less policy wonks who want to watch reruns of The White House, and enjoy free Wi-Fi, snacks and coffee, according to The Hill.

While these staffers and bureaucrats will be turning lemons into lemonade, over at NASA most of its 18,000 employees will stay home instead of celebrating the agency's 55th anniversary Tuesday. But the six astronauts onboard the International Space Station will not be left to their own devices. NASA says it has specially assigned staff to protect the crew during the funding hiatus, Forbes magazine reported.

Government departments that will be essentially shut for the duration include the Environmental Protection Agency, and Commerce, Labor and Interior departments, according to contingency plans now implemented by the Office of Management and the Budget. National Park Rangers have already told overnight campers to leave, and roads across federal lands are being closed, The Wall Street Journal reported.

At the Defense Department half of the workforce has been told to stay home, including those at the branch charged with revoking security clearances for individuals with dangerous mental disorders, The Washington Examiner reported. 

Over at the National Health Service, laboratories will be working with a skeleton crew.

Air travelers should be relieved to know to the news that almost all Homeland Security workers will be at their posts as usual. So will most employees of the Social Security Administration and Veterans Affairs, according to The New York Times.

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