How a government shutdown could affect day-to-day life

With the government teetering on the edge of a shutdown for the first time since 2018, the country is bracing for the effect it might have on vital programs.
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 12:06 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With the government teetering on the edge of a shutdown for the first time since 2018, the country is bracing for the effect it might have on vital programs.

As politicians in Washington Continue to point fingers for the cause of the potential shutdown, many are wondering how it would affect their daily lives if Congress can’t come to an agreement about spending.

The last government shutdown lasted for 35 days, which was the longest in history. If a shutdown does happen and lasts that long again, some problems could pop up.

In the event of a government shutdown, 27,567 federal workers in Kentucky would be furloughed or work without pay.

This includes TSA workers, which could mean longer wait times at airports.

In a statement, a TSA spokesperson said:

At the Transportation Security Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security, 59,000 of the agency’s 62,000 employees are considered essential and would continue working without pay in the event of a shutdown. An extended shutdown could mean longer wait times at airports.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske, who was TSA administrator during the previous shutdown, said the lapse in funding took a toll on the agency, with growing numbers of TSA officers saying they were unable to report to work. As a result, airport checkpoint wait times increased. A similar scenario could play out again if the shutdown lasts for an extended period. It’s very, very hard for anybody to go for 20 days, 30 days, 40 days or longer without receiving a paycheck. It impacts the ability of people to get to work, to pay to put gas in their vehicles, to pay for parking. It impacts their ability to pay the individuals that provide care for their children.”

“If you had a no government shutdown bill, it wouldn’t affect anybody who gets a paycheck from the government,” Indiana Senator Mike Braun said.

Braun doesn’t think Congress will come to an agreement before Saturday’s deadline.

“It has to look pitifully across the country in terms of how this place works,” Braun said. “It’s going to impact some people that depend on the consistency on what they get through the federal government.”

The Biden Administration says millions of families, including 119,884 in Kentucky, could lose the assistance from WIC almost immediately.

Families who use SNAP, which is 555,992 in Kentucky, could be impacted if a shutdown lasts into November.

The Food Pantry “Dare to Care” in Louisville said, “The uncertainty of the shutdown presents yet another challenge and stress for our neighbors who struggle to access the food they need.”

Another pantry, the Franciscan Kitchen, serves 700 meals a day and said they’re prepared if the shutdown causes an increase in need.

“Over four million people. Their pay is in jeopardy right now,” Co-chair of the Veteran’s Club Jeremy Harrell said. “And about half of those are military service members and personnel that are attached to military units.”

About 47,395 active duty and reserve personnel are in Kentucky. Veterans who receive disability, compensation, education and housing benefits through the VA will not be impacted.

“Hopefully something comes to fruition,” Harrell said. “Hopefully they’ll come to an agreement.”

Congress has until 11:59 p.m. Saturday night to reach a deal.