The implications of a federal shutdown - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

The implications of a federal shutdown

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You have heard the arguments over and over again, but the battle over the budget in Washington can often sound like white noise.

Congress must pass something called "continuing resolutions" to keep the money flowing in D.C.

However with a divided government, Republicans have loaded those "CRs" as they are called, with billions of dollars in cuts.

Democrats aren't ready to slash that much, leading to a serious showdown.

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to talk a tough game.

"I just really think that the people of America, the people of the commonwealth have had enough of Washington trying to say what they should with their money," said Henrico Congressman Eric Cantor who is also the House Majority Leader.

Convinced they were swept into office on a mandate to change Washington; Congressional Republicans are prepared to stand their ground, even if that means no resolution by the march 4th deadline- one week from this Friday. 

If all this back and forth sails over your head, here is what a shutdown could mean.

Almost immediately all *non-essential* federal government services would be shut down.

*You couldn't apply for social security benefits

*National parks and zoos would be closed for business.

*That passport application you have in the mail could get delayed.

*And if you are federal employee, you won't have to go to work, but you also won't get paid.

The last time this happened was back in 1995 under similar political circumstances. Republicans had just been swept into congressional power and were making a statement to a Democratic President Bill Clinton.

The 4 week shutdown led to an estimated $400 million in loss payments to federal workers. 

That shutdown also has serious political implications.. In fact some argue it was the beginning of the end of then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

The 2011 Republican leadership appears to be less interested in a shutdown.

There are reports today that an agreement with Senate Democrats appears likely.

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