How Could a Government Shutdown Affect Michiganders?
It seems likely that our Federal Government is headed for another shutdown, which means thousands of federal employees could be without paychecks for a while. But it also means a lot of federal offices will be closed, and inconvenience even more people nationwide.
But what will be affected in Michigan specifically, and how will it affect our everyday life? Should we plan on not having some services while the government sorts out its budget?
First of all, to be crystal clear, this is a Federal Government shutdown we're talking about. State Governments will continue to function. But that doesn't mean we won't have troubles to deal with.
How Many Employees Will Be Affected in Michigan?
According to OPM.com, more than 27,000 people across all Federal agencies will be without a paycheck during a federal shutdown. If you include annuitants and other Employees, that number climbs to more than 73,000 people.
What Agencies will be Closed?
If the shutdown happens, then just about anything that has "United States" or "US Department Of..." in front of it will be closed. So if you need a passports, or have business with the Treasury Department, or want to visit a National Park, you'll be turned away until the shutdown is over.
Military Personnel will also be affected. Each military branch will deem who is essential personnel to stay at work, and the rest will be put on furlough.
Disaster Relief might also take a hit. Following the fire in Maui, Hawaii, wildfires out west, and hurricane season in the Gulf and Atlantic, FEMA has already said they are running desperately low on funds, and could be completely depleted if a shutdown happens.
A shutdown could also affect air travel, and airport efficiency in the country. During the 2019 shutdown, air traffic controllers continued to work without pay, and threatened to walk off the job if an agreement wasn't met. It was part of the reason, Congress put together a plan and ended it.
The 2019 shutdown was also the longest in modern history, at 34 days. Meaning hundreds of thousands of employees went without work or pay for more than a month.
Any Federal Programs Not Affected?
There are some agencies that are already allocated with funding through the end of the year, including the Postal Service, Social Security, and Medicare. Those services will continue to pay employees, and deliver mail and checks.
Veterans Affairs and the IRS will also continue to operate, and law enforcement and public safety programs will continue. But outside of that, it's a full on lockout.
Will anything in Michigan Specifically be affected?
Outside of federal operations, no. If you have dealings with a state department, such as getting a driver's license, or paying state taxes, the State of Michigan will continue to stay open. The only reason those departments would see any interruption would be if there was a State Government shutdown, which has happened before.
The State of Michigan has only ever had two government shutdowns - one in 2007, and another in 2009. Both only lasted about a day, but during that time, thousands of agencies were closed, and employees were furloughed a full day's work.
Hopefully our government can get it together before the Sept. 30th deadline, and avoid another shutdown that will hurt millions of people. But unfortunately, it's a reality we live in that this could happen again.