Congress failed to pass a spending bill before midnight Friday, Dec. 21, triggering a partial government shutdown. As the stalemate entered a third week, President Trump suggested it could stretch for months or even years.
Around 75 percent of the budget controlled by Congress has already been funded, but these top-level departments are affected: Homeland Security, Justice, Agriculture, Treasury, Interior, Transportation, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. Here’s what we know from agency contingency plans and news reports.
Typically during a shutdown the Federal Trade Commission does not add entries to their do-not-call registry or spam database. The agency had used prior year funds to stay open through midday on Dec. 28.
Housing voucher requestsclosed
Processing of requests for housing vouchers from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will stop.
Consumer complaint hotlinesmixed
The Federal Communications Commission said on its website that it would shut down most operations on Jan. 3, including its consumer complaints hotline. The Federal Trade Commision won’t respond to new complaints. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is not congressionally funded, and will operate normally.
Farm service centersmixed
These centers are not fully operational across the country. The Farm Service Agency, which provide market guidance, loans, and other support to farmers, is closed. However, the Natural Resources Conservation Service is still operating in farm service centers.
Federally backed mortgagesmixed
The processing of new Federal Housing Authority loans has slowed.
Food stamps and other nutritional assistance programsmixed
Congress has not allocated funding for food stamps beyond January, and the program’s emergency funding would not cover even two-thirds of February’s payments, according to past disbursements. Federal funding for Commodity Supplemental Food Program, WIC, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations has ceased and is reliant on state and local funds. School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into February. Read more
After the 2013 shutdown, the Department of Justice concluded that shutdowns do not count towards the FOIA response time. Many agencies halted work on FOIA requests during the 2013 shutdown, and at least the FTC and Department of Transportation have stated they would do so again.
Small business loansmixed
Loan processing for most of Small Business Administration's lending programs has slowed or been put on hold. The Treasury Department continues to lend to small businesses.
The Internal Revenue Service will issue tax refunds, reversing previous shutdown policy.
Marriage licenses in D.C.
The court system in Washington, D.C. is funded by Congress and the Marriage Bureau is closed during the shutdown. However, D.C. Council passed emergency legislation to allow the mayor to approve marriage licenses for the next 90 days or when the shutdown ends, whichever comes first.
National Flood Insurance program
FEMA reversed course and announced that the National Flood Insurance Program would issue new policies, though it didn’t for a time at the start of the shutdown. Continued interruption could have hobbled would-be home buyers who need the insurance before closing. Read more
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance
Recipients of Social Security, SSI, Medicaid, Medicare, unemployment insurance, TANF and some other programs will continue to receive benefits. The programs’ spending is not dependent on Congress’s explicit funding. Read more
The Department of Veterans Affairs is not one of the affected agencies, so the hospitals will operate normally.
The National Weather Service continues services related to weather forecasts, but any further research has been put on hold.
Environmental Protection Agencyclosed
The agency had used prior year funds to stay open a week into the shutdown, but shuttered at midnight on Dec. 28. Read more
Federal office buildings for affected agenciesclosed
Facilities for the affected agencies would be closed.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) administers presidential libraries for all presidents since Herbert Hoover. NARA-operated portions of presidential libraries are closed. Any other portion of the library administered by a private foundation may stay open.
Embassies operate as normal.
Federal prisons and detention facilities
Federal prisons and detention facilities will remain operational.
International Space Station
NASA will continue to support planned operations at the International Space Station.
Local parks, schools, libraries and city government buildings
Since these entities are controlled locally and not by the federal government, they are not affected by the shutdown.
The monthly jobs report, which includes the U.S. unemployment rate and other economic statistics, is operating on schedule.
Smithsonian museums (and the National Zoo mole rat cam)closed
Smithsonian institutions were funded through Jan. 1, but the organization tweeted that all museums, research centers and the National Zoo would close starting Jan. 2 since the shutdown had not been resolved. The mole rat cam and the Zoo’s other live animal video feeds have gone dark. Read more
National parks and monumentsmixed
A memo obtained by The Post said the Interior Department plans to allow popular sites to tap entrance fees to hire additional staff to clean restrooms, haul trash and patrol the parks. Many national parks have remained open, but their visitor centers and restrooms are closed. Historical homes and select monuments would be closed. New York state will pay the National Parks Service to keep the Statue of Liberty open. As of Dec. 27, three visitors had died in the mostly unstaffed parks. Read more
Old Post Office tower (at Trump hotel site)
The General Services Administration said the clock tower at the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington has re-opened despite the continuing shutdown thanks to a separate building fund. Most of the building is leased to the Trump International Hotel. GSA said the decision was "unrelated to the facility's tenant." Read more
Travel and Shipping
Passport and visa services will remain open. However, those located inside federal buildings of agencies that have shut down will be closed. Read more
Air traffic controllers, TSA officers and customs agents continue to work at airports, although some may be working without pay. Read more
Amtrak continues normal operations during a short-term shutdown.
The Department of Homeland Security decribes border security as mission critical and related personnel as essential.
U.S. Postal Service
The U.S. Postal Service is an independent agency, so it is not affected by the partial government shutdown.
The E-Verify system, which allows employers to check work eligibility status and is designed to prevent illegal immigrants from working, is unavailable.
Federal Trade Commission’s Facebook investigationclosed
A federal probe into Facebook’s handling of user data will stall as all FTC investigations and litigation halt during a government shutdown, according to former officials. The agency had used prior year funds to stay open through midday on Dec. 28. Read more
Job discrimination complaintsclosed
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is not processing or investigating claims of job discrimination. Their toll-free numbers are not staffed and their digital portals are down, but you can still mail a charge to be filed.
Many federal research operationsclosed
Some government research projects, such as geological and weather research, have ceased. The Census Bureau has delayed reports on home spending and new construction. Nongovernmental organizations that already received government grants, however, are not be affected by the shutdown.
New beer approvalsclosed
The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has halted approvals for new beers and labels, potentially disrupting beer releases from craft breweries.
Most business filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission can still be filed, but will not be processed. Read more
Some civil litigation has been curtailed or postponed at the Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission. Other agencies may do the same.
Most immigration courts have closed during the shutdown, adding to a backlog of cases. Only cases involving detained migrants would continue, the Justice Department announced.
Law enforcement trainingmixed
Basic training for federal law enforcement agencies has continued, though advanced training is halted during the shutdown.
Services on Native American reservationsmixed
Federal funding has ceased for health clinics, food pantries and more on reservations. Tribes and state governments are filling in the gaps. Federal land maintenance has also stopped, leaving some tribes snowed in. Read more
Census 2020 preparations
A minimal section of the decennial Census workforce would continue to work using prior year balances to continue development of the 2020 Census.
The courts have used fees and other funding sources to stay open since the shutdown began. Courts will need to pare down operations after Jan. 11, when the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has said it will run out of funds.
USDA inspection of meat, poultry and eggs continues.
The Department of Defense has already been funded and is not affected by the partial shutdown.
Santa Claus tracking
The North American Aerospace Defense Command continued its decades-long tradition of tracking Santa Claus on a sleigh. Military personnel who conduct NORAD Tracks Santa are supported by approximately 1,500 volunteers who answer phone calls about Santa’s whereabouts. Read more
Special counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation
The probe’s funding is approved by Congress outside of the normal government funding process, so it is not affected by a shutdown.
The local government of Washington, D.C.
District government buildings will be open and services will continue as normal. In 2013, Mayor Vincent C. Gray had to use reserve funds and exempt all city employees, but D.C. has since gained more budget autonomy. The District government has taken over litter collection at National Park Service properties in the District.
Reuben Fischer-Baum, Kevin Uhrmacher and Kim Soffen contributed to this report.