Congressman Jared Huffman

Representing the 2nd District of California


Oct 1, 2013
Blog Post
What you need to know about the government shutdown

Congressman Huffman strongly opposes this unnecessary government shutdown and is calling on his colleagues in Congress to approve a simple, temporary agreement to resolve this standoff and reopen federal agencies. This manufactured crisis is the result of House Republicans’ ultimatum to block government funding unless the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

During this period, Congressman Huffman’s offices in Washington and in California will remain open so that we can continue to help his constituents to the best of our ability.

The list below briefly outlines services that will be affected by a government shutdown. This page will be updated as additional information becomes available from relevant agencies.

Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security:

  • Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other mandatory programs will not be affected but there may be delays for new enrollees.

Federal Workers:

  • About 800,000 federal employees will see their paychecks jeopardized or delayed. 

Affordable Care Act:

  • As of October 1, open enrollment in California’s health insurance exchange, Covered CA, has begun. Covered CA is a new, easy-to-use marketplace where you and your family may get financial assistance to make coverage more affordable and where you will be able to compare and choose health coverage that best fits your needs and budget. For any enrollment questions, call the Covered CA hotline: 800-300-1506

Armed Services:

  • The military's 1.4 million active-duty personnel will stay on duty, but paychecks may be delayed. President Obama signed a bill that ensures that certain members of the U.S. military and U.S. Coast Guard will be paid during a government shutdown.

National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands:

  • All national parks and federal wildlife refuges will be closed for the duration of the shutdown, as will Forest Service visitor centers and BLM parks and campgrounds. About 9 million visitors were turned away from parks, museums and monuments run by the National Park Service in the mid-1990s, the last time the government shut down temporarily.


  • Federal air traffic controllers will remain on the job and airports will continue to operate security checkpoints; delays are possible. Federal inspectors will continue enforcing safety rules.
  • The State Department will continue processing foreign applications for visas and US applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services, but delays are expected. Embassies and consulates will continue to provide services to American citizens overseas.

Veterans’ Services

  • Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue. Veterans will still be able to visit hospitals for inpatient care, mental health counseling, or get prescriptions filled at VA health clinics. Operators will still staff the crisis hotline and claims workers will still process payments to cover disability and pension benefits.
  • Benefit programs and efforts to reduce the backlog of disability claims will likely be slowed down. Those veterans appealing the denial of disability benefits to the Board of Veterans Appeals will have to wait longer for a decision because the board would not issue any decisions during a shutdown.


  • NASA will furlough almost all of its employees, but it will continue to keep workers at Mission Control in Houston and elsewhere to support the International Space Station. The National Weather Service will keep forecasting weather and issuing warnings and the National Hurricane Center will continue to track storms.


  • Federal courts will continue to operate normally for about 10 business days after the start of a shutdown. If the shutdown continues after such a point, the judiciary would begin furloughs of employees whose work is not considered essential. Cases would continue to be heard.
  • The US Supreme Court is scheduled to begin its new term on October 7. In previous government shutdowns, it continued to operate as normal.


  • Deliveries will continue as usual, the US Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations and instead is funded by income from stamps and other postal fees.

Homeland Security

  • The majority of the Department of Homeland Security's employees will continue working, including uniformed agents and officers at the country's borders and ports of entry, members of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration officers, Secret Service personnel and other law enforcement agents and officers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will continue to process green card applications.

To find more information on the government shutdown, please visit this helpful guide, Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects, compiled by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

My friend Congressman Adam Schiff from Southern California has put together a great overview of the direct effects of the shutdown.