The Obama administration clarified the scope of the potential government shutdown saying that it would impact about 800,000 employees and stop services like IRS paper filling and returns, and close institutions like the Smithsonian.
A senior administration official also said that military personnel would continue to earn money, however they wouldn't actually receive it until the government is funded again. They'll be receiving full pay checks until April 8.
There are two areas that guide who will stay working. Government activities will stay open that:
1) Have alternative funding - like user fees or appropriations that aren't renewed every year.2) Are necessary for safety of life and protection of property.
Here's a snapshot of what else stays open and what closes during this potential shutdown:
• The official said the president doesn't want government shutdown, but they think from a "good government" perspective and for "good housekeeping," they need contingency plan.
• 800,000 federal employees (the same as 1995) the official says is the "vicinity" of workers who would be affected. What's changed since 1995 though is that the Veterans Affairs Department was largely closed during the last shutdown, but will be open now because it has multi-year appropriation. Plus the Department of Homeland Security didn't exist then, and many of their operations are necessary for safety and protection of property.
• Military members will continue get paid through April 8th, but after that are only earning and will get money when the government is funded again. Civilian members will be under same consideration about who stays and their pay situation will be largely the same. They expect a significant number of civilians to be furloughed.
• What services will be suspended? IRS filings with paper claims won't be processed and audits will also be stopped. Electronic claims will continue. Small business loans and Federal House Administration mortgages will also be halted. (The official noted that FHA had 12 percent of housing market in 1995, and now it's up to 30 percent)
• The Environmental Protection Agency will cease facilities for air, land and water pollution, but keep up ones necessary for protection of life.
• The Cherry Blossom parade in D.C. this weekend wouldn't be happening. (although officials running the parade discount that notion)
• National parks will be closed, along with the Smithsonian (which includes things like the National Zoo).
• Government websites essentially won't be running.
• It's unclear what kind of impact a shutdown will have on border inspection.
• On Social Security, compared to 1995, they are still finalizing their plans, current beneficiaries continue to get benefits as they did.
• Although Medicare is funded, other activities at Health and Human Services are suspended.
• On the impact of all three branches: legislative and judicial would be in accordance and go on with their own shutdown plans.