The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Government Shutdown: What is It and How Would It Affect Me?

Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview These Congressional Research Service reports provide information about why government shutdowns occur and how they affect the general public. Government shutdowns are the product of funding gaps, which occur when federal agencies and programs lack appropriate financing. During government shutdowns all operations within government organizations are legally obligated to cease. However, exceptions are made for emergencies and tasks that are considered essential. Funding gaps and government shutdowns have usually occurred when the Congress and the President either did not enact regular appropriation bills by the beginning of the fiscal year or failed to come to an agreement on stop-gap funding through a CR. Between 1977 and 2010, 17 funding gaps occurred within the U.S. government. The government shutdowns that arose from these budget gaps ranged from 5 to 21 days. The general public would mainly be affected by a government shutdown in the areas of health, law enforcement, public safety, parks, museums, and monuments, visas and passports. Additionally, shutdowns can potentially impact the live of government workers, veterans, and federal contractors in negative ways. A video of a White House press briefing addressing government shutdowns can be found here. A Washington Post summary of how individual government agencies would be affected by a government shutdown can be found here.