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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Government shutdown: Facts and figures

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Despite assurances from the Obama administration and congressional leaders that they don't want a government shutdown, each day closer to March 4 without a final agreement makes the suspension of government services more likely.

So let's review some of the basic shutdown facts published in the newest Congressional Research Service report on the issue, sent to lawmakers late last week and obtained by The Federal Eye late Wednesday.

How long do shutdowns last?

Six shutdowns occurred between fiscal year 1977 and fiscal year 1980, ranging from eight to 17 full days, according to the report. From fiscal 1981 to 1995, nine shutdowns occurred, lasting no longer than three full days.

In fiscal 1996, the first budget impasse led to a five-day shutdown from Nov. 13-19, 1995. The second shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, stretched 21 days from Dec. 15, 1995 to Jan. 6, 1996.

How many federal workers are impacted by shutdowns?

The first Clinton-era government shutdown led to the furlough of about 800,000 federal employees, according to CRS. The second shutdown furloughed about 284,000 federal employees. An untold number of federal contractors were also impacted. The federal government doesn't track the number of contractors employed by agencies.

What kind of work can continue during a shutdown?

According to federal guidelines established in the 1980s, agencies should continue activities that:

1.) Provide for the national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property.

2.) Provide for benefit payments and the performance of contract obligations under no-year or multi-year or other funds remaining available for those purposes.

3.) Conduct essential activities to the extent that they protect life and property, including:

a.) Medical care of inpatients and emergency outpatient care. b.) Activities essential to ensure continued public health and safety, including safe use of food and drugs and safe use of hazardous materials. c.) The continuance of air traffic control and other transportation safety functions and the protection of transport property. d.) Border and coastal protection and surveillance. e.) Protection of Federal lands, buildings, waterways, equipment and other property owned by the United States. f.) Care of prisoners and other persons in the custody of the United States. g.) Law enforcement and criminal investigations. h.) Emergency and disaster assistance. i.) Activities essential to the preservation of the essential elements of the money and banking system of the United States, including borrowing and tax collection activities of the Treasury. j.) Activities that ensure production of power and maintenance of the power distribution system. k.) Activities necessary to maintain protection of research property.

How have shutdowns impacted the general public?

The suspension of various government service impacted Americans in several ways during the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, according to CRS:

Health: The National Institutes of Health couldn't accept new patients for clinical research and didn't answer hotline calls regarding diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped disease surveillance and toxic waste cleanup projects at 609 sites were reported stopped, causing the furlough of 2,400 Superfund workers.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms delayed the processing of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives applications. Work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases reportedly was suspended. The U.S. Border Patrol canceled the recruitment and hiring of 400 new agents and various delinquent child-support cases were delayed.

Parks, Museums, and Monuments: The National Park Service shuttered 368 sites, resulting in the loss of about 7 million visitors and revenues to local communities. The closure of national monuments and other museums resulted in the loss of about 2 million visitors.

Visas and Passports: Up to 30,000 applications by foreigners
for visas went unprocessed each day and 200,000 applications for U.S. passports went unanswered. Both moves resulted in millions of dollars in losses for tourism-dependent industries and U.S. airlines.

Military veterans: Health, welfare, financial and travel services for veterans were curtailed.

Federal contracts: Of the $18 billion in contracts in the Washington region, about 20 percent -- or $3.7 billion -- was impacted.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

RELATED: Federal Eye government shutdown coverage

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 24, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Government Shutdown  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Federal agencies, contractors preparing for government shutdown
Next: The Federal Eye rests, briefly


The only thing that should be shut down is the House majority leader's mouth.

Posted by: bs2004 | February 24, 2011 6:23 AM | Report abuse

I was involved in the '95-'96 shutdown, was fortunate enough to not worry about my short-term financial security, and knew it was best to keep busy. I volunteered at Food & Friends which really put things into perspective. It didn't take a genius to figure out that in 6 months, the shutdown would be a blip for most but some of the people served by F&F would have died. If there is a shutdown don't focus on yourself, go help someone else. Ann in NC.

Posted by: aeleanorsuddenlinknet | February 24, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Sure am glad I am not a contractor anymore, was laid off last year after working for the Navy for 10 years. Getting laid off was the best thing, took me 4 months to find a job but what I do now gives me more time to spend with my family. My job is 20 minutes from home, no more spending 2-3 hours a day commuting to/from D.C.. No more paying $4k+ a year out of my pocket to commute to my job, I may be making less but I don't have to BS to deal with and stress.

Posted by: vixis | February 24, 2011 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Ed, you didn't answer an essential question: will back pay be paid?

Posted by: offking | February 24, 2011 7:50 AM | Report abuse

For people applying to graduate schools for fall 1996 admission, their financial aid applications were delayed at the Education Department because of the FY96 shutdowns. Presumably faster computer systems used for processing applications today may not have the problem that technology 15 years ago had. But it affected students' ability to chose wisely between schools that year, as schools were slow in generating financial aid packages.

Posted by: mjd8a | February 24, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans in Congress are so insulated from the bad effects of our poor economy that they just don't get it, unfortunately.

Will these self-absorbed fools EVER understand how much their theatrics are damaging their country?

They never should have gone on vacation this week, and they're absolute idiots if they allow the government to shut down for even one hour.

Posted by: Kathy8 | February 24, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

There would be no budget crisis if the government would collect the taxes due from the people who owe them money including the largest corporations in America who pay ZERO in taxes. If they are now PEOPLE THE NEED TO BE TAXED AS PEOPLE. Why should I have to be furloughed and my income cut or frozen because some PEOPLE are apparently more equal than other PEOPLE. The time for CORPORATE WELFARE MUST END.

Posted by: jacquie1 | February 24, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Fascinating how when the republicans have the white house they spend like drunken sailors, when democrats have the white house republicans find religion, blame all the worlds problems on federal employees and shut down the government. Go ahead bonner, shut it down, I dare ya.

Posted by: dem4life1 | February 24, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

So, any guesses as to whether Reid and/or Obama will shutdown the government?


Posted by: illogicbuster | February 24, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe the govt will shutdown merely because the republicans only have control over the House and not the Senate and the White House.

How can the House alone shutdown the govt?

Posted by: SilverSpring2 | February 24, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"Hey, Ed, you didn't answer an essential question: will back pay be paid?"

- - - -

I should hope not, but I fear that it might. If government workers aren't working, they shouldn't get a paid vacation. Let them do what anyone else who got laid off does, and apply for state unemployment benefits.

Posted by: Swat02 | February 24, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see figures on impacts to local businesses and to state and local governments, especially in areas with large numbers of federal employees. Federal workers pay federal, state, and local income taxes. They pay mortgages and rent, buy gas or use public transportation for daily commutes, support local restaurants and coffee shops by eating out daily. How does it help the economy in general to have hundreds of thousands of people not paying these taxes or spending for these services?

Posted by: justonevoice4 | February 24, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Oh, govt workers will get paid, one way or another. If you think government workers don't work now, just wait and see how productive they will be for the next two weeks, nothing but talk of a shut down. Then post-shut dowm weeks and months of pent up hatred for congress and the process. Yep, go ahead, shut it down, you'll save a fortune. LMAO

Posted by: dem4life1 | February 24, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Expect some pissed off federal employees to occupy the Capitol. Me being one of them.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | February 24, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't a government shutdown lead to a general election of representatives and senators? How else could an open up occur?
The country cannot function without a government. And if Representation of the People produces only two bodies at war with each other, who never agree on any policy, the inevitable result is anarchy. Surely there is provision made for overcoming this impossible position.

Posted by: davebutcher74googlemailcom | February 24, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

If I recall, during the last shut-down in 1995 Gov't workers got 21 days off then got paid when they got back to work. So --the Government didn't save any money, no work was done and Gov't stiffs got paid anyway. Business as usual. FWIW, during that shutdown the daily commute into DC was the best ever.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | February 24, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

What would actually be helpful here for federal employees is what to prepare for. How often is back pay provided? Will employees lose their health care coverage? Do federal employees qualify for unemployment? What happens to things like employees' TSA? FSA? Taxes? (Yeah, believe it or not, federal employees pay those too... and no irony is lost on the fact that we're paying taxes so that we can be furloughed...)

Posted by: lmrhody | February 24, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Glad I work for local government and not the feds. I may not make as much, but at least I don't have to worry about whether or not I'll be going to work or not.

Posted by: futbolclif | February 24, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like a traffic holiday to me.

Posted by: reiflame1 | February 24, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

ok -- looks like i can live with that. shut it down.

Posted by: fngVP | February 24, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The impending shutdown of the federal government is NOT related to any savings plan. It is simply a pawn in the game. Shutting down the government is not designed to save money and ultimately costs more in overtime and comp time to catch up on the work that wasn't being done, costing local gov'ts and businesses revenue (losing tax revenue), and all for what?

This is what we elected and pay our Congress for? To go on vacation for a week before the Fed Govt runs out of money to operate because Congress are having a spat???

And yes, the employees should be paid as it isn't about available funds, it's all about hubris. Not to mention that Congressional members and staff are federal employees. if there's no pay (repayment), they don't get paid either!

Posted by: shadeau | February 24, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

There would be no budget crisis if the government would collect the taxes due from the people who owe them money including the largest corporations in America who pay ZERO in taxes. If they are now PEOPLE THE NEED TO BE TAXED AS PEOPLE. Why should I have to be furloughed and my income cut or frozen because some PEOPLE are apparently more equal than other PEOPLE. The time for CORPORATE WELFARE MUST END.

Posted by: jacquie1 | February 24, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse
I am sorry you feel this way, but to make this comment, you need to address the counter-factual. We live in a globalized economy, so making corporations pay more in taxes has and always will make companies shift operations overseas to compete. If they don't, then companies that do form other countries will gain market share and eventually put US companies out of business. How do you address that issue without imposing import tariffs?

You can't impose tariffs because we owe too much debt to the countries that we compete against. They (notably China) will stop buying our debt sending our country into a instant depression with mass inflation. The latest wikileaks reported that China has already used the threat of this power. We need to cut spending now, or we just continue to kick the problem down the road. To say end corporate welfare is easy, but what do you do to address the real problem?

Posted by: Bosoxfan | February 24, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it would be wise to work constructively with Senate Confirmed Officials; as opposed to the unconfirmed and presumably unconfirmable 'czars'.

Fund approximately 10% of the affected department budgets 'at discretion', of Confirmed Officials to allow 'mission critical' work to continue. Adjust list each week in response to observed department behavior.

Congressional control of the purse strings is enhanced and the tactic of maximizing citizen pain is denied.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm a federal employee and I find it sickening that paying me for time that I'm not being productive for the American people is ridiculous! If you want to toss me onto a paid vacation, so be it ...but what kind of person would I be if I felt great about that? Keep me working!!! Don't charge the American people for overtime hours for our government to get back on track after a forced paid vacation! Don't you think Americans are getting drained enough?

Posted by: MMarlowe1 | February 24, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Not to mention that Congressional members and staff are federal employees. if there's no pay (repayment), they don't get paid either!

Unfortunately they are exempt! If this were going to impact their pocketbooks, even temporarily, it would never happen.

"I don't believe the govt will shutdown merely because the republicans only have control over the House and not the Senate and the White House.

How can the House alone shutdown the govt?"

It takes a majority to get a budget passed. When they cannot agree on a budget or continuing resolution, the govt has no spending authority so most things stop.

Posted by: Sharon1949 | February 24, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I was involved in the '95-'96 shutdown, was fortunate enough to not worry about my short-term financial security, and knew it was best to keep busy. I volunteered at Food & Friends which really put things into perspective. It didn't take a genius to figure out that in 6 months, the shutdown would be a blip for most but some of the people served by F&F would have died. If there is a shutdown don't focus on yourself, go help someone else. Ann in NC.

To: aeleanorsuddenlinknet,

Your comment was very well put and shows that you have class. If only our lawmakers across the nation could display such character. This country would be on the fast track to recovery.

Posted by: carterm1 | February 24, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I think it is a disgrace that adults who work in Washington can not get together and resolve the issue. Insead they have to put thousands of people out of work, while they still get paid alot of money.
They dont seem to care about others are what they have to go through.
It is a terrible horrible thing that is happening.
I just pray that it will be resolved in a matter of time.

Posted by: kficik | February 24, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

They are also acting like little children.

Posted by: kficik | February 24, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

This wouldn't be an issue of Nancy Pelosi and her overwhelmingly Democrat-controlled Congress had ever had the presence of mind to fulfill their Constitutional responsibility to actually pass a budget.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 24, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I know when I have a crucial deadline at work I need to work late, long hours and weekends. Congress where are you ?

Posted by: Gorik | February 24, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"The federal government doesn't track the number of contractors employed by agencies."

How can the govt. not know how many contractors it hires? (Fair disclosure: I am one of them.) I know it's not your fault, Ed, but it is absurd that no one knows. And how can the Post and all the other newspapers cover a shutdown? It can say that x-thousand employees have been furloughed at Y cost -- but it's only half the story. The other half is the number of contractors likewise furloughed.

My own half-assed guess, just looking at my own gummint agency (which will go unnamed), is that we contractors account for maybe 30-40 percent of our workforce.

Further complicating the equation is the general fact that contractors tend NOT to be employed nearly as much in all those key security-type and safety-type jobs that are NEVER shut down.

(However, our building is surrounded by and protected by rent-a-cop type security people, who will undoubtedly continue to work, protecting and keeping safe a building that will be 90-percent vacant during a shut-down. [For the quite reasonable reason that they can't just leave the place unguarded.])

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 24, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

A proper tactic for a prolonged government shutdown is to minimize discomfort for the general public and to reward departments that can accomplish popular and or mission critical functions with a fraction of the usual resources.

While this tactic is intuitively obvious in the private sector; it is quite the opposite of what federal departments did in the two referenced shutdowns.

Put the PAIN on target at AmeriCorps, DOE, EPA, DOJ, Courts ...

Stay OUT of the headlines with the predictable 'sob-stories'. We have been there, done that and NOW have the Tee Shirt and the Cap. Keep the parks open and send the 'pencil pushers' to the house.

Play to win this time.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I would like to understand why is it always affecting everyone but the White House staff as far as the finance. We all have made sacrifices during the recession but it always comes to something thats out of our hands. "Congress" has to come with some conclusion soon because it affects our jobs and our lives.

Posted by: kficik | February 24, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I was a fed employee through all the shutdowns from 1969-2004, when I retired. In all cases government employees were paid for the days they were furloughed, so, as other commenters have noted, shutdowns are a complete waste.

True, both Dems and Republicans say they don't want a shutdown, but neither group seems willing to compromise on the amount of permissible cuts, and the Tea Partiers swear they won't agree to a continuing resolution that doesn't itself have deep cuts. Thus we appear headed for a train wreck. Boehner et al. are kidding themselves if they think they won't be blamed for a shutdown, as Newt Gingrich learned the hard way. Is there any real leadership in the Republican Party? We're about to find out.

Posted by: alan25 | February 24, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

From all the noise coming out of DC, I bet this will be the record-setter. We will likely be shut down more than 21 days.

From my memory, work on flood protection projects was halted during the last shut down. Projects in design were suspended, construction projects were shuttered. Luckily, nobody died from flooding during that period, but this time may be different.

Posted by: will4567 | February 24, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Not one dime for the salary, benefits, support staff, transportation, care & feeding of the 'Czars'.

Designate who, within the White House Staff gets paid, in each (weekly) continuing resolution.

Obstructionists and 'pain-maximizers' can 'check it to the casa'

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The Republican Party is anti-American.

Posted by: COWENS99 | February 24, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You didn't mention Social Security, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid payments. Will they stop? Woe to those who have no other sources of income and no savings.

TO all those self-made, hard-working, Republican/conservative/teabagging millionaires out there who believe that the poor are just lazy/stupid/welfare cheats:
You will only find a heart when you lose everything and this happens to you!

Posted by: shapiromarilyn | February 24, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Play for keeps ... Keep it Real.

Do not EVER pay for the furloughed days.

Review the Airline Controller strike v Ronald Wilson Reagan for inspiration, strategy and tactics.

These things can be won, with a proper appoach.


Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

bs2004 - You mean the senate majority leader's big yap!

Posted by: PZ007 | February 24, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

demforlife - you new name in "Dumb for Life"

Posted by: PZ007 | February 24, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Win the hearts of the PEOPLE!

Not one thin dime to purchase, operate or maintain those ... Full Body Scanners at the airports

Oh and for the most part, Granny is tired of being 'felt up' by TSA. Suspend the funds... and allow 'profiling'. If it was good enough for FDR in WWII and for Woodrow Wilson in WWI; it is OK for 2011.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Here's a novel concept, how about lawmakers are penalized for every day they do not have budget approved after October 1 of each fiscal year. Let's hold them accountable for ultimately not doing their job. Why is that people make this huge assumption that government workers are worthless. Instead of jumping on this ridiculous bandwagon of don't pay government workers, shut down the government. How about we limit these vacations that Congress takes in the midst of these situations. This is about both parties not getting their jobs done. If we are all expected to perform at our jobs in the government and private industry, why are we holding our lawmakers accountable for not meeting deadlines and doing their job. I'm sure when Mr/Ms/Mrs Congress person loses their job benefits, their pay for weeks or months maybe then they'll get their jobs done. In the upcoming elections they will loudly hear the voices of all those government workers.

Posted by: DoYourJobCongress | February 24, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Whereas ICE has proven it cannot effectively patrol the borders and conduct interior enforcement;

And whereas General SWING and 'I-Like-Ike' completely cleared out the illegals in Operation W/B and Herbert Hoover cleared out virtually every 'guest worker, legal and illegal,

Now Therefore, please do so again with the efficiency of these two shining examples...

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

It's easy for commenters to state "shut down the government...the traffic will be lighter" when they are unaffected. They are also not affected by pay raise and/or salary halts. Unfortunately, I am one of many federal workers affected by the "out of control" spending habits of our Government. While my next paycheck is in jeopardy, I still agree with the potential furlough and whatever means necessary to get the attention of Congress. Americans wanted change...well, we're making history with our deficit and all within two years. There "MUST" be changes to stop the bleeding. The answers don't lie in constant ways to cut government salaries to compensate for out of control spending. The SPENDING MUST STOP! It's amazing how certain leaders and Americans have difficulty with this conception.

Posted by: k-heick | February 24, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Ironically, as a Government employee, most of the people are looking forward to a two week vacation, i.e., planning timeshares/trips, since we all know, some will continue to abuse the system by lying on their timesheets, earning credit hours for babysitting, etc. The only people who get hurt are the people who actually work in the Government.

Posted by: NWS4215 | February 24, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Stop taking pot-shots at the federal government staff. Its not their faults that this is happening. Try focusing on the employees that are congress. They are on vacation AND will get paid regardless of any shutdown.

If Congress fails to pass a government funding bill before March 4th and we enter shutdown mode, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed without pay or asked to continue working in a non-pay status. But guess who will continue to get paid as if nothing happened? That’s right, Members of Congress and the President.

Unlike just about all other federal employees, the salaries for members of Congress ($174,00) and the President ($400,000) are paid from permanent mandatory spending accounts that are not subject to annual renewal from Congress. They are, by law, effectively exempted from shutdowns. In case you’re wondering who decided that Congress’s pay should be immune to Congress failing to fund the government, the answers is, of course …Congress! Funny how that works.

Posted by: st74 | February 24, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Even if government employees do get paid for a furlough that pay comes much later. However, their bills do not take a vacation. They still have to make the mortgage and utility payments and put food on the table. Add to that the ever increasing gas prices, and increasing costs of food that follow. Congress is destroying this country and they have no regard for the people who put them in a position to do so.

Posted by: ladyg2 | February 24, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

OMG!! If the government shuts down, will the National Science Foundation still be able to spend my money to study Farmville and Facebook?

Posted by: Chippewa | February 24, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

@Chippewa: I don't know about that, but I do know that as an out of work Fed I won't be able to take temporary work, I won't be able to collect unemployment, and after a couple weeks I will have to cancel my kid's speech and occupational therapy, since without wages I can't pay $140+ an hour (I get $43 reimbursed by my "great" health insurance).

Posted by: beta1 | February 24, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

IF the local postmasters cannot deliver the 1st class mail with 35% of the personnel ... perhaps the assistant postmasters can get 'Job-One' done.

For the duration of the 'shut-down'.

Here is a novel concept (for government), promote the performers and send the whiners 'a la casa'.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering, is BullDuff a teabagger? sure sounds like it, perhaps he might be paid by the Koch Brothers like the Governor of Wisconsin? Sucking up to the pinhead conservative/teabaggers in Congress bill?

Christ on a crutch, you rabid right wingers make a person want to throw up, right on your shoes.

This shutdown, IF it happens, will be the direct responsiblity of the right wing pin heads in the House and they should all lose their salaries and benefits along with their bowtie wearing slimeball legislative assistants.

May they all be cursed with boils and rashes over their entire bodies for a minimum of ten years.

Posted by: hhodges1 | February 24, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

If this shutdown occurs, it is because of Obama's disregard for the results of the 2010 election. Citizens want smaller government and they want Obama's soft tyranny curtailed and stopped. If you're a government worker, don't expect any back pay. It's not going to happen.

Posted by: ecartr5 | February 24, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Given the state of the economy, that it is the result of corruption on Wall Street and in other corporations, the inability of Congress to function due to the Republicans whose primary goal is the make the Obama administration fail and whose secondary goal is to make corporations ever richer, the decision of the Supreme Court that corporations are people, and the financial pressure that all this puts on people living in America, whether citizens, working visitors, or illegal aliens, a government shutdown this time just may trigger anarchy, chaos, and rioting in the streets. This is not a threat from me; it is a prediction of what may happen, and is not based on any knowledge of anyone's plans should a shutdown occur; certainly not mine. I don't know whether my job will be affected. If it is, I haven't really thought about what I will do. I think Ann's suggestion in these comments to volunteer and help other people less fortunate is a good idea.

Posted by: foofoofoo | February 24, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I know we all like to bash the lowly government worker but lets not forget we do provide vital services. The notion we're overpaid is nonsense. The government doesn't hire pizza delivery boys and counter help. We are fairly well educated and pretty generous too.

Posted by: joeblo62 | February 24, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

hhodges wrote:
This shutdown, IF it happens, will be the direct responsiblity of the right wing pin heads in the House and they should all lose their salaries and benefits along with their bowtie wearing slimeball legislative assistants.
interesting, however, if i read correctly, the house has passed a continuing resolution. all it takes now is for the senate to pass their version and for obama to sign off. if the senate doesn't act, or obama vetoes, then it's the dems who have decided to shut down the government, not the house.

Posted by: Marin823 | February 24, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The actual rules for paying Congress and Judges is Constitutional, and as amended in the Amendment XXVII. More than 3/4 of the states ratified XXVII, so Congress did not 'set their own pay', subject to debate are their COLA games.

The president, when there is a president is also constitutionally funded. Show me the long form birth certificate, and I will answer whether Obama gets a check.

Biden's check is 'good to go'.

Virtually everybody else is negotiable.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I am a federal worker. I want to be furloughed without pay. I've requested multiple times for a one month LWOP so that I can go see my family and travel coast to coast on my motorcycle. Unfortunately I cannot save up enough annual leave as it is depleted along with sick leave in my visits to the VA Hospital as a disabled combat veteran.
My thing is, if I'm not working, then don't pay me! The idea of paying me for work I didn't do is crazytalk. Most federal employees if they need money to hold them over can take a loan out of their Thrift Savings Plan. of course their are problems with things like paying employee insurance premiums and things like that, but really, 6 months down the road this will all be a wash / a non-event!!! We'll be knee deep in the BS about who is running against who for presidency.

My hope is that we get furloughed for 30 to 45 days. It really does seem like a waste (esp. if they pay us back), but I think this is an opportunity.

Furlough all except critical services, then slowly add back based on critical/functional need. Anything left over is up for the chopping block.
You could do it in phases, such as Critical Infrastructure is 25% of government, then each agency adds back in 10% growth each month, with debates to who needs what resources and why. They report to congress on the intermitently for approval on their growth plan. If it doesn't get approved, then they don't grow.

With a structure such as this, you'll have every federal worker diligently participating to ensure their work is a functional and contributing part of critical infrastructure.

Then the president can actually combine the 11 agencies working on exports (domestic, international, and smoked salmon included!)

Posted by: STATMATT | February 24, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for asking; No, actually I am more of a Amendment XIV, §3 type, or perhaps a Whiskey Rebellion, Sagebrush 3 Rebellion kinda guy.

As W. C. Fields once stated, "No thank you, 'tea and crumpets indeed'; fetch my bottle..."

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Time to chop the absolute size of federal government down to size.

Reduce the Department of the Interior:

Cede 2/3 of the federal real estate, minerals and royalties, (fee simple) to the counties, states and AmerInd Tribes.

Ditto with the coastal waters and offshore minerals to the oceanic 50 Yard lines, (not merely the present 200 mile limit).

Put this vast wealth to productive use creating wealth and jobs.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"Let them do what anyone else who got laid off does, and apply for state unemployment benefits."

They're not eligible for unemployment as they are still employed.

Posted by: Skowronek | February 24, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"Let them do what anyone else who got laid off does, and apply for state unemployment benefits."

I think they're not eligible for unemployment as they are still employed, but unpaid at the time.

But I suspect that the HR departments should have access to whether or not that's a legal option.

Posted by: Skowronek | February 24, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Outdated and ill-conceived federal regulations recently caused Natural Gas pipelines and Electrical Power Systems to interrupt services to each other.

This half-witted, government-mandated action, resulted in curtailments of Natural Gas Service AND Electrical Power ... to at least 4 states, including Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

That kind of gross stupidity makes it difficult to provide CLEAN, low CO2 (Gas & Light) services to American homes and businesses. Plus, federal nannies won't even let us operate the existing coal fired plants, in a blizzard.


Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

For the federal workers, restuarant owner/workers, mass transit operators/workers who voted for the Republican idiots that are in office now, please rest assured that the shutdown, if it happens, will be on your shoulders. They have only been in office just over a month and we are already in a crisis. Next time maybe you will think of the consequences to the action before they happen.

Posted by: relli | February 24, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Federal employees don't vote Republican. They are Obama's most loyal subjects. Why would they bite the teat that feeds them?

Where is Congress? Well, the Congress that is responsible for not passing a budget was thrown out in November.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 24, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Ed, you didn't answer an essential question: will back pay be paid?"

- - - -

I should hope not, but I fear that it might. If government workers aren't working, they shouldn't get a paid vacation. Let them do what anyone else who got laid off does, and apply for state unemployment benefits.
Actually, if government workers are furloughed, I do not believe we can collect unemployment benefits. Being furloughed is not the same as being laid off, we still have a job, but there is no budget to pay us, so we can't work until there is a budget. I think it only fair that we get some type of compensation when we return to our jobs, after a budget is passed. Its not like we asked for leave time, etc. Get your facts straight before you start spouting off about us needing to stand in line for unemployment benefits that we would probably not be entitled to. Remember that government employees are people too with families to support.

Posted by: ika301 | February 24, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

BECAUSE the federal district courts have refused petitions to verify the birth and/or citizenship qualification of Barack Hussein Obama (AKA Barry Soetoro, Dunham … et al);

Apparently no citizen, soldier, voter, candidate, presidential elector or criminal defendant has ‘standing’ before these ‘courts’.

Therefore, WHO needs federal courts? Thomas Jefferson shut down half the federal courts; as did Andrew Jackson. Slam ALL the federal district courtroom doors shut and nail them shut. The federal courts are already closed to the citizenry. Let’s respond in kind and shut those doors to the judiciary, DOJ and corporations.

We can do without most of the federal courts for a few years; perhaps all but one.

Yer honor ... yer fired (sic)

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

As a government contractor, we do not get paid during a government shutdown, and we do not get reimbursed. All of the funding the government provides to states for education, training programs, prisoner re-entry, etc. stop being processed. Eventually they run out of funds and cannot pay their employees either. This is not just about government employees and contractors, it also affects state and local governments who rely on federal funds as well. Grants are no longer processed, including college grants. Visa and passport applications grind to a halt. All kinds of services everyone takes for granted until they disappear are affected. It's just plain stupidity, and the new Republican Tea Partiers don't remember how the Contract With America Republicans got kicked out of office after the last shutdown. They'll learn.

Posted by: rytis1 | February 24, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I think we need the big mouths trying to force a government shutdown to have THEIR pay stopped until they get their priorities right! In fact, why don't we freeze all of their assets so they can have a real appreciation for what it's like to be on the dirty end of the "stick"! I'm getting really fed up with their "Feed the rich & starve the poor!" mentality!

While we're at it, let's stop paying the government contractors & mercenary firms over in the Middle East too. After all, they have been a major source of the cost overruns that have led to the size of national debt that we have. (Not to mention the fatter wallets that certain major players in the last administration left with.)

Privatization of governmental functions and their cost overruns have become a major source of the cost of running the government AT ALL LEVELS!!! This could be viewed as intentional...Bankrupt the government & it can't "ride herd" on the business community and keep things on the "up & up".

Sorry to tell you folks, but it really looks like we may have a bunch of kids running the business community! Kids, when they're not properly supervised tend to bend, if not outright break, the rules that have been set up for the good of EVERYONE. We have seen a number of "market adjustments" happen when several administrations (in a row) have chosen to experiment with "Laissez-Faire Capitalism". The economy is still reeling!

We should not cater to that kind of behavior. We are not here to "Eat, Drink & Be Merry, for tomorrow we may die!"

It should also be quite evident that tax breaks for the rich should be eliminated because they are NOT letting it trickle down to the rest of the food chain. Why give them the tax breaks when they already control 90% of the "wealth" in the U.S. and benefit more from the tax code (without
the tax breaks) than anyone else?

They may say..."What kind of incentive is there to "succeed" when we can't get ahead due to the tax laws?" My answer is this..."What ever happened to the sense of satisfaction one gets when one succeeds in spite of the odds?" I honestly think there's another issue at work here...

Brian Tracy, a well-known "motivational" speaker, said this..."The greatest epidemic of the 20th Century is low self esteem." We don't need the economy to break because "poor little rich boys" or
"tycoon wannabees" are trying overcompensate for their low self esteem by breaking all of the rules because they "want it all".

Let's get back to the concept of "a rising tide floats ALL boats and get away from the "It's all about me" concept!!!

Posted by: theseeker1952 | February 24, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The Texas legislature is presently re-affirming their previous calls for a federal balanced budget constitutional amendment; this time by a convention of the states, if necessary.

Some thirty other states are also on the record, with this petition.

Perhaps 38 states will soon concur or perhaps congress will proceed sua sponte.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Bills of taxation and appropriations originate in the People's House.

Who gets paid ... is determined there.

The (presently) more spendy senate and the ravenous executive branch will take every dime they can get. The brakes are on at the People's House. Nobody gets paid, til the House says they get paid.

That would presumably even include the Federal Reserve and Goldman Sachs.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Certainly, vast amounts of financial fraud occurred during the presidency of Jorge Boosh. However, a new world record for fraud and corruption has been set during the last two years.

Speaking of fraud …

How is the new Hawai’i democrat Governor Neil Abercrombie progressing in his archive search of 1961 births?

Neil promised to ‘produce’.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The ‘social contract’ is quite simple in this republic. The constitution is the deal and the federal government is in gross breach of contract.

Therefore, there is no deal.

We are not ‘all in this together’.

You are fired.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

It would be far more humane and efficient to simply calculate the amount of money that is going to be wasted on a government shutdown, ask Mr. Boehner to have an equivalent amount of cash delivered by the Treasury to the Capitol, and let the Republicans build a bonfire and burn it.

The waste is already well underway. The productivity of federal employees and contractors has probably already been cut in half while they are preoccupying themselves with the shutdown. That goes for a lot of others whose livelihood is directly linked to the livelihoods of said federal employees/contractors -- day care center employees, baby sitters, restaurant owners in certain locations, etc.

If the shutdown plan goes forward, every tax payer should demand that the elected officials responsible -- in both parties -- work without pay until the shutdown ends.

Posted by: exco | February 24, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton closed the Kaiparowitz Plateau (Utah), which contains 7 billion tons of coal, worth over $1 TRILLION, by designating the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Bill Clinton and then George W. Bush tried to gift 190 miles of US coastal water mineral wealth to the United Nations via the Law Of the Seabed Treaty (LOST).

The present regime, whatever its makeup and legitimacy, has sabotaged US offshore drilling and onshore production, while subsidizing Brazilian offshore production and Canadian Tar sand development.

Therefore, no one in the last three (3) administrations has worked to preserve, protect or defend … anything. We do not need your continued services.

Check it to the house, you are ALL fired.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Yes, see you crazy right wingers and libertarian crackpots? The government provides ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS of a civil society. Public servants are not waste, they are essential, and your elected representatives, who also receive salary and benefits on the public dime, waste precious time and money attacking them when they should be solving the nation's problems. Rational people would want them fired, but you people actually HIRED them. Good job. Thanks for continuing the destruction of our country.

Posted by: shellyd1977 | February 24, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Federal default and Federal Reserve Bankruptcy are not fearsome subjects.

I hope for and dream of such a joyous sequence of good fortune.

Bring it on!

If memory serves, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, each shuttered the central bank for privitizing gains and socializing losses. Half the life of this nation has been with and without a central bank.

Here we go again!

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world are we so entralled with a Government Shutdown? Yes we have a major deficit, yes we need to make some cuts but its like pruning a tree you have to careful as to what branches tou cut or else you may kill the tree.
The Republicans wan to cut $100 Billion. Sen Rand Paul wants to cut $500 Billion its is not the Dollar amount but the programs we must look at.
The Republicans want to cut all the money from Plan Parent hoo---Any one with a half of brain knows that Plan Parenthood does more than advises on Abortion, Without some of the services that Plan Parenthood offers we will see more lower income women using the services of Medicaid which is already burdened,
By cutting funds to PBS we will see a great deal of worthwile programming dumped.
We did not get into this Budget Mss overnight and we will not get out of it overnight.
This mess was a long time coming 8 years of Bush 2 years of Obama contributed to the deficit---rember Clinton left with a surplus Then we had two wars under Bush that were not paid for aDrug bill that was a give a way to the Insurance ccompanies that was not paid for Tax Cuts to the ehealty that was not paid for and was passed under reconscilliation and now the Republicans act as if they just got to town.
Shutting the Government down will be a bad thing for the country. If they do not raise the Debt Ceiling the Country will default on its obligations. A whole lot of people will not be paid even Tea Partyers who are on Social Security there will be a whole lot of peeded off people and you know who they will blame you guessed it Gov Walker and his buddies.

Posted by: Carprin | February 24, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Blame who you will. A pox on both your houses and the house of Goldman Sachs.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

SilverSpring2 and others: How can the House shut down the government?

The Constitution provides that "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." As a result, the Senate cannot initiate bills imposing taxes. Furthermore, the House of Representatives holds that the Senate cannot originate appropriation bills, or bills authorizing the expenditure of federal funds. The approval of the Senate and the House of Representatives is required for a bill to become law.

Posted by: pottsmlp | February 24, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Can we have a color-coded "threat level" assessment of a federal shutdown?

Posted by: AJJJ | February 24, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I am a govt employee who works long hours to earn the pay check that pays for the house payments, utilites, car note, puts food on the table. I have not been on a paid vacation in years. Humm reason why I can't afford to go play. Congress gets paid TOOOOOO much, cut out all the paid vacation days for congress, cut out all the per diem that they are racking in on their travel vouchers. Make these congress people move to DC and pay all the taxes up in the DC area, instead of claiming their home state to get tax breaks. Go check out how many shady deals they thave in their back room discussions. Voters, we need to get to the poll to get these idiots out of congress poop rolls down hill and it is all coming from the HILL. Clean up Washington, D.C.
Contractors are GETTING TOOOOOOOO much money in the Washington, DC area. These GS-15's retire on Friday and go to work for a contractor in the same office the next monday. It is sick how these things work in DC. Then you congress people want to cut the GS-3, 4 and 5's. Yall need to get real.

Posted by: TexasTaxpayerBB | February 24, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, typically when the Senate attempts to originate an appropriations bill, the House simply sets it aside.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The Republican candidate for President must confront Obama and demand his birth certificate he will be rewarded with Hundreds of millions of dollars in donations....... get a clue, we are not going away.....

Posted by: Richie5 | February 24, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Fifty-One (51) Secretaries of State were in Gross Dereliction of Duty, during the 2008 primary and general election, and it was knowing and willful.

One at the national level and 50 at the state level. They shall be called to account for this violation of their oaths of office.

Count on it.

Posted by: BillDuff | February 24, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

The prez and congress should be shut down...

With products ranging from laptop computers to American flags already made in China

At Smithsonian, Americana 'Made in China.

American out of work and the American flags and pins are made in China. When you salute the American flag you are saluting China.

The real war is in our back yard. A war fought with words like, "built in America."

I will never salute the American made in China flag again.

Some companies say made in America but is imported almost finished from China. Only a little work in America.

Posted by: billisnice | February 24, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Politics aside, what is going to happen on the financial side? Is my 401k going to tank? How long will it take to get back to where we are today (Libya's situation does not count).

It does not really matter to me that the fed gov't is shut down for a short time, but losing a big amount of my money does.

Posted by: stollt67 | February 24, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Shut it down.
Even Canada sent airplanes to pickj up their citizens in Lybia and they are broke.
Our Fed does little for the US Citizens and we will be fine until they get a budget , even if it take 2 years for them to read it just for once...we will wait.

Posted by: dottydo | February 25, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Obama's National Debt Impact

Amount of Debt at Obama Inauguration.................. $10,626,877,048,913
Amount of Debt as of Feb 17, 2011.......................... $14,123,589,307,191
Amount of Debt Obama Increased over 2 yrs………. $3,496,712,258,278

Amount of Debt Bush Increased over 8 yrs................ $4,899,100,310,609

Amount of Debt Obama would increase over 8 yrs.. $13,986,849,033,112

Obama is even ignoring his own Deficit Commission's recommendations while the republicans are attempting to implement at least some of them, although insignificant cuts.

Posted by: fury60 | February 25, 2011 4:07 AM | Report abuse

Thank you TexasTaxpayerBB!

I am a GS 5 working in the administrative side with a college degree. I was a contractor and took a pay cut to become a Fed. My pay cut wasn't that large but I have heard some people in my position take cuts of almost 9000 dollars! The overhead that is also for these contract workers are twice as much as their salary.

Congress wants to cut spending? Try cutting out contractors first!

Posted by: u_morris20061 | February 25, 2011 6:54 AM | Report abuse


Thank you for caring about those who do work for the federal government and get a paycheck like you do. I say shut wherever you may work down. You do nothing for me!

Posted by: u_morris20061 | February 25, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I am a Fed and March 4 is a payday. Will I be receiving a paycheck or not? Just want to know so I can plan ahead. Thanks.

Posted by: SpaldingGetYourFootOffTheBoat | February 25, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Even though I'm a government contractor and a military retiree, I fully support a shutdown if the Senate and President won't sign the House's budget. If they don't, I will spend some time down in the city carrying a large sign urging them to cut more and deeper. I had hoped my contract would also be suspended so I could be there every day, but I just got word that we will be funded through March, even though our services are hardly essential. Sorry, taxpayers.

Posted by: NaVette | February 25, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Even though I'm a government contractor and a military retiree, I fully support a shutdown if the Senate and President won't sign the House's budget. If it does, I will spend some time down in the city carrying a large sign urging them to cut deeper. I had hoped my contract would also be suspended so I could be there every day, but I just got word that we will be funded through March, even though our services are hardly essential. Sorry, taxpayers.

Posted by: NaVette | February 25, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dottydo

Even Canada sent airplanes to pickj up their citizens in Lybia and they are broke.

Not sure where you got your information about Canada being broke but you went to the wrong source. The Canadian economy is one of the strongest in the world; it had various measures in place which ensured that it did not face the same crises that struck here.

Also, where do you think the US is importing its oil from? Try looking north of the border.....the number one source of US oil imports is Canada.

Posted by: commonsense42 | February 25, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I've voted across party lines over the years so I've no ax to grind either way; but this isn't a fight over the budget, this is political infighting, pure and simple, and everybody on the Hill should be spanked and set in a corner. If they shut down, as usual it'll be the people at the lower grade levels most affected; ever try living on a grade 6 or 7 salary in this area, with its high cost of living? You NEED each and every paycheck and knowing you'll be getting backpay later on doesn't pay the bills while you're on furlough. Too, seeing as government is THE industry in the DC area, think of all the other people who will be hurt; the restaurants and other shops that depend on the govt. workers spending their money during their lunch hours or after work in DC, Metro, the contract cleaning crews in govt. buildings, lots of people. And with todays' economy, we just don't need to have people lose their income, even "only" for 2 weeks.

Posted by: Chicobomba | February 25, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

@SilverSpring2- You may wish to take a class about how the government works. Both the house and senate must agree on either a continuing resolution to continue funding the government through this fiscal year, or pass an actual budget (appropriations bill). Both sides of Congress must pass the same piece of legislation to become law; further the House, when it comes to appropriations, does have considerably more power than the Senate. If the house refuses to budge -no CR or actual appropriations bill (budget) is passed -the government will shut down. The impact on all Americans may not be felt immediately, but sooner or later everyone will feel the impact. Hope you have already filed your taxes, otherwise you may be screwed if the impasse doesn't pass.

Posted by: devilsadvocate3 | February 25, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I think bonner and canter want to do a shutdown, they have absolutely no idea about how the "people" live and how it will affect them.Damn teabagger idiots.

Posted by: fassssster | February 25, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

WOW ~ "The federal government doesn't track the number of contractors employed by agencies."

Our Tax dollars at work - can't be tracked??

Unbelieveable - this should be investigated by the Post

Posted by: neighbors2 | February 25, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the federal government doesn't track the number of contractors it hires. That's for a very simple reason - the government hires companies to perform a task, not (usually) specific individuals. The government usually doesn't dictate how many individuals it takes to perform a task. Rather, the company staffs the job according to its business practices. The government doesn't know how many employees Boeing has working on its government contracts, nor should the government expend the additional cost required to figure it out. Think of it this way - if you hire someone to mow your lawn, do you care how many people it takes? No - you just want it done right, and as cheaply as possible. If that's 1 guy or 10 guys, you don't care, so long as its on time and under budget.

That's not to say that the government doesn't know how many contractors have access to government buildings. That's a different story. But to say how many government contractors there are in total? That's unknowable.

Posted by: asupps | February 25, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Once again, we learn that anyone who looks for information on public message boards, is an idiot.

1. If the government shuts down, Federal employees who are furloughed might not be compensated for the loss in pay.
2. Depending on how long the furlough lasted, some employees would be able to apply for unemployment compensation.

BL: If you're a Federal employee who has been thrown out of work due to the political shenanigans of these hacks, file for unemployment, tell the truth, and let your state bureaucrats figure out if you qualify.

And always ignore the ideologue morons on this and other message boards.

Posted by: MyChainzaw | February 25, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I have been a government employee since 2003, first as a contractor and then as a full time federal employee.

This Congress is going to shut down the government for more than 21 days easily, I am making plans to be unemployed quite soon.

This Congress and the train wreck coming is the direct fault of the voters who put these morons into office.

You asked for it, you are going to get it, meanwhile honest federal employees continue to get the shaft, like the fantasy reports stating federal employees make more than the private sector when the reality is we make more than 25% LESS than the private sector.

But we get shafted and sent home without pay because Congress can't DO THEIR JOBS !!! You won't see the Congressmen or their staffs losing their pay nor do you see them offering to reduce their pay to help the country.

Puff puff their chests, bang their drums, and shout loudly about the problems without EVER offering any real solutions. This country spends 1/3 of the economy on defense, another 1/4 goes to healthcare, and then add in Social Security and that is where the focus should be.

But there is not a single member of Congress willing to tackle the true source of the problems, so we will shut down the government, waste the taxpayers time and money and claim victory where none exist.

All to satisfy their egos and those who paid to put them into office.

Thank you voters for bringing this disaster to fruition.

Posted by: Bradachin | February 25, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I was here when one shutdown occurred over the Christmas holidays.

The hospital remained open, we continued to work every day, serving our veteran patients.

But many of the workers had no food for their own families and had to go to food pantries and get donated items. People could not pay rents or mortgages and were forced out of their homes at times, due to not being paid for a month.

I do not think that people who work for companies in the community understand what Federal employees give to their communities and I am somewhat affronted by the comment that "workers should not get paid if there is a budget freeze." Think of what would happen if suddenly you did not get any pay for a month and were still expected to continue working?? What type of persons still put in their hard work in that case??

Posted by: williamspamber | February 25, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE shut it down. Begin with puting Congress on an unpaid furlough. Then just put the ravenous military machine on pause. That should take care of the deficit in a matter of weeks.

Posted by: josephb1 | February 25, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I am a federal worker. If the REPUBLICANS shut down the government like in 1995, I will resolutely vote Democratic from now on. I have voted for both sides until now and I am independent but this changes everything. I also know that their plan to shut down the govt is entirely politically motivated and has nothing to do with reducing the deficit. If they really cared about the deficit and not their non-sensical econonic plans, they would not have pushed for continuing tax cuts for millionaires at the end of 2010. Repeat after me = TAX CUTS DO NOT REDUCE THE DEFICIT. Take an accounting class and figure that out. And for those tea baggers out there, your disability and social security payments will also be affected - believe it or not - the Federal govt provides those. So hate the government all you can but be sure to feel the pain when the REPUBLICANS SHUT DOWN the government.

Posted by: PWChomeowner | February 25, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

News flash to all those Employees who think they are going to be paid if the FED shutters, unless your position is designated EE that is emergency essential and you already know who you are. Because you the guy or gal who still had to go to work during the last storm or you would be fired. while all the rest were given the day-off just to keep the roads open. So I you had th
e day off during the last big-one, furlough means LWOP, unless you use your own save Annual leave days to cover the period. furthermore you can go over and make a claim for un-employment, cause you have been paying into it. the lines are long and the delays take time. So while you are in line thinking about the service, remember just how great you are at helping people and what a great service it is to do something great for your country when you do get back to work. Just remember when you vote who put you on the street for a month. frozen time for retirement.

Posted by: imweather | February 25, 2011 11:15 PM | Report abuse

"But many of the workers had no food for their own families and had to go to food pantries and get donated items. People could not pay rents or mortgages and were forced out of their homes at times, due to not being paid for a month."

All of that happened because they weren't paid for "a" month? They need to reevaluate how they manage their money.

Posted by: ABedelia | February 25, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I thought this was a great article. Perhaps, some entrepreneur will consider the idea of taking over these services that would be affected when our government shuts down. Because it will shut down! According to, we have a $112 trillion unfunded liability that is also hanging over our heads. Right now, GDP and the National Debt are at about par. If we add the unfunded liability to the National Debt, we are in big trouble.

Posted by: RightOnIt | February 26, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Why will the GOP shut down America?

Because the GOP hate America, did you not notice that the last time they were in power?

Do you really think the GOP which last time it was in power, left America with a 12.5 Trillion Dollar defecit and a USA on the verge of bakruptcy would not want to finish the job?

Posted by: walker1 | February 26, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Government needs to pare itself down, but not the way Republicans would do it.

For example, instead of 400 regulatory agencies for the stock exchange, agencies which all ignored Bernie Madoff's rip-off red flags, even when they were pointed out to them, let's have ONE regulatory agency that does its job so no one thinks that "everyone else" is watching the store.

Abolish the ATF, which has been allegedly implicated in arms deals with Mexican drug cartels. Abolish every federal agency involved in corruption and fire everyone. Then put the whistleblower -- if there is one -- in charge of the new agency.

Fire every FBI supervisor who said no to Colleen Reilly's and others' requests to be allowed to investigate Saudis taking 747 flying lessons without showing an interest in learning how to land prior to 9/11. Then put Colleen Reilly in charge of the FBI and let her hire back everyone she wants back in the FBI.

Eliminate HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac permanently. They've done their best to ruin the housing industry and every city they've had a hand in populating and putting in larger and smaller projects.

And proceed from there. I think you get the idea.

If there's a czar in charge of any war or any agency, it should be SECDEF Robert Gates. Tell him to eliminate every wasteful and corrupt defense program and start from scratch. That will save the most money of all.

Posted by: mariaconz | February 26, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I can handle all of that.





Posted by: joelevin | February 26, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

There is a child-like quality to this "my way or no way!" stance. These grown-up people should be ready to act their age or be replaced. If their job is NOT to protect the welfare of the people, what ^%$#@!~ are they doing there? Who benefits from this charade?

Posted by: MikeSar | February 26, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I once was a Republican until I went to Washington as a member of the Republican Senatorial Task Force and found I was one of 2 single women who were attending as members. All the rest of the women were with their husbands who were the members. I changed parties when I returned and haven't looked back. Today I am truly glad. I wish they would smarten up and realize that there are a lot of us who are registered to vote and don't agree with them.

Posted by: reedd22D | February 26, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"I am a Fed and March 4 is a payday. Will I be receiving a paycheck or not? Just want to know so I can plan ahead. Thanks."

@spaulding - OMB and OPM have stated if there is an appropriations lapse on 3/4 they will direct federal agencies to maintain sufficient staff for purposes of shutting down the gov't to process the paychecks for the pay period closing 3/4 so you will still get that paycheck.

Posted by: fedwkr | February 26, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

If there is to be a government shutdown we need to throw all the worthless trash out of washington dc! Start with the capital building and the white house.

Posted by: obamaisafraud | February 26, 2011 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Probably not a well received line of thughtby many but for my 2 cents the a shut down of the government is just what the doctor ordered. Let's shut it down and then re-open it with 5% less Federal employees this year and then 5% next year and the next and the next and the next and the next until we the people see the government reduced to something more in line with what our founding father envisioned.

The Federal government is a bloated almost worthless money sucking mess. Be they dems or gopers who care, the time is now. Berry, idiot one each has grown government spending so much that it is costing we the tax payer and our kids and then grand children more tan the nation can ever repay.

So, its a good start. Shut the bloated mess down. Time to get the Federal Government back to something like our founding fathers envisioned. A small government that is responsible for protecting our borders, providing for a military that keeps us safe here at home versus one that is trying to keep the world safe, oversee the building of roads and other transportation systems. The Federal government has no business being involved in the every day life of its citizens.

If we had a smaller, much smaller government, a good military and a fair tax system with all but the very poorest paying their fair share versus only about half of us support the other free loading half, that made sure our actual country was secure, that we had a good transportation system and a very limited welfare system, a system that took care of those who were actually not capable of taking care of them selves, our countrey would again be on track to be great again.

As it stands now until we get rid of a bloated Federal government, get federal spending under control, and if it takes a governmental shut down to start the process, great, our county will continue to spiral ever more downward. I for one feel we can again be great but there are changes that need to be made.
glad the House is beginning to tackle some of these problems just like Scott walker is doing in Wisc. Now is the time so lets ho0e the wimps in congress don't go all weak kneeded and blow their chqance to get government back to something our founding fathers would recoginze.

Posted by: Rockman44 | February 27, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are enemy of people. They are exteme obstructionists that do anything and every thing to score politial gains. They are simply the parasites of American society that need to be removed like warts!

Posted by: thoughtful10 | February 27, 2011 1:57 AM | Report abuse

They government workers will be paid as in past "shut-downs." For them it is simply a paid holiday! Contractors, on the other hand, won't get paid. I can't help but wonder if conressmen and their staffers lost their pay (with no hope of it being caught up after the shut down) if the threat of shut-down wouldn't suddenly disappear.
In the mean time -
I'm getting really tired of this lack of compromise which makes our country so much stronger and better than any other.

Posted by: wxyz5 | February 27, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"TO all those self-made, hard-working, Republican/conservative/teabagging millionaires out there who believe that the poor are just lazy/stupid/welfare cheats:
You will only find a heart when you lose everything and this happens to you!" do know that donations and gifts are tax-deductible, right?

Also that the Tea Party-backed GOP members of the House were elected not by the rich, but by the people at large, right? Look, I don't begrudge these people their spending-cuts. I just will not forget that they were all in favor of raising government spending during the recent speculative boom in housing, and that they are the beneficiaries of 20 years of Republican tax-cutting and government spending. Let them cut spending once. It is not like they are suddenly going to stop being thieves and liars.

A man is not a liar for telling just one lie. Nor is a liar suddenly an honest man for telling the truth once. The Republicans are never going to hit their $100B number. It's going to be bad enough if they just get $50B in cuts and part of those cuts are from not spending unspent parts of the $700B stimulus package. So they are at best merely cutting past agreements to spend money, at worst engaging in serial hypocrisy by cutting stimulus funds while arguing for an ongoing tax-cut for the wealthy on the basis of stimulating the economy.

Going to be interesting to see how they try to talk voters from pushing them off the plank after walking themselves out on it.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | February 27, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Did we renew our perennial "state of emergency" that's been renewed every years since 9-11? Under various Executive Orders, a "state of emergency" specifically suspends all purchasing rules any way.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | February 28, 2011 12:58 AM | Report abuse

STOP the WAR and this government will save enough money to invest in the growth of the country!

Posted by: boni40 | February 28, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I think a government shutdown would be a great thing. Just like an attic - if you can live without it for 60 days, you can live without it. Let's find out what we really need.

Posted by: Tommo1 | February 28, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

As a Federal employee, the shutdown concerns me, but not as much as the new furniture still rolling through the doors. Our budget should have been finalized in October, not March. Departments and their employees should not be encouraged to "save" resources by making last minute spending sprees instead of returning excess budgets to Congress for deficit reduction; not like they would do it anyway. But what really irks me with this budget is the slight handed way it got to the house anyway and some of the ammendments that have been included. For instance, the attack on the Overseas Compability Pay. Why select one group of workers to go after 15% of their pay? Why not go after DOD Military Hazardous Duty Pay? Because soldiers fire bullets and diplomats fire words and the foriegn service isn't in the country to make an issue of this rookie representative.

Posted by: limiko04 | February 28, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

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