Published December 20, 2015
With all the talk of a government shutdown, it's important to remember that much of the government will technically remain open.
The following is a list of government services that will continue, rain or shine ... or shutdown:
-- While roughly half of the Defense Department's civilian employees will be furloughed, the 1.4 million active-duty military personnel stay on duty. And under a last-minute bill, they should keep getting paychecks on time. Most Homeland Security agents and border officers, as well as other law enforcement agents and officers, keep working.
-- Social Security checks will continue to go out. Medicare benefits will keep coming.
-- The Postal Services will keep delivering mail.
-- Though the Board of Veterans Appeals will stop issuing rulings, in turn delaying some decisions about disability claims, most Department of Veterans Affairs services will continue. The department's health programs get their money a year in advance, so veterans can still see their doctor, get prescriptions filled and visit fully operational VA hospitals and outpatient clinics.
-- Meat inspections by the Agriculture Department will continue.
-- Air traffic controllers will remain on the job. Railroad and pipeline safety inspectors will also remain at work.
-- As previously reported, the National Security Agency -- as part of the nation's national security infrastructure -- will continue to operate.
-- Except for some potential glitches, passport and visas will be handled as usual, both at home and abroad.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.