What’s closed and what’s open during the government shutdown?
Mostly or completely closed
- All National Parks and Wildlife refuges will be closed, including Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Everglades National Park and the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve. The National Park Service even shut down its website.
- If you’re backpacking or camping in a national park and haven’t heard the news about the shutdown, park employees will seek you out and tell you that you have 48 hours to leave.
- Environmental Protection Agency is closed, except for emergency services.
- National Institutes of Health will stop cease clinical research, shutting some sick people, including cancer patients, out of studies. No hotline calls will be answered, either.
- The National Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam will not operate.
- The Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify program, which helps employers perform background check to make sure potential employees are citizens, will not function.
- The Women, Infants and Children program – WIC – will not be supported. Some states have enough money invested in the program to keep it running for a short time, but when that’s spent, the program will cease.
- The Internal Revenue Service is closed. All audits will be temporarily suspended (hooray), but hotlines and walk-in centers will be closed, so you can’t use the downtime to get your tax mess straight (boo).
- The Federal Communications Commission is completely closed. If you’ve ever wanted to use one of the seven dirty words on the radio, now’s your chance.
- Intercollegiate athletics at service academies will cease – that means no football for Army, Navy, Air Force, etc., and the season is just beginning. The Navy-Air Force game scheduled for Saturday could be cancelled.
- NASA will be mostly closed, which means no NASA TV or webcasts. Depending on how things play out, the next mission to Mars could be delayed. Mission Control will continue to operate to ensure the safety of the two American astronauts aboard the International Space Station. This is Nasa’s 55th birthday, by the way. No celebrating here.
Partially or completely open
- Social Security payments will be delivered, but you won’t be able to call to have questions answered.
- U.S. Courts will run on available funds and have enough to remain open for 10 days. After that, they may close.
- Passports: Passport and visa operations will remain functional, however, if your passport or visa office is located in a federal building that is being shut down … well that office is going to shut down, too. Make backup plans.
- VA Hospitals will remain mostly open because they’re mostly funded through multi-year appropriations.
- Post Office services will continue.
- Medicaid and Medicare – and many provisions of the Affordable Care Act – continue to function and remain intact.
- The FBI and DEA will continue to operate.
- Air travel and air-traffic control will not be directly affected. If you’ve ever had expat dreams, now might be a good time to explore them.