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US government shutdown: Check which services will likely be suspended

As the United States stares down the barrel of a potential government shutdown come October 1, national security seems poised to take a significant hit. While two million military personnel would remain in service, about half of the Pentagon’s 800,000 civilian staff would face suspension.

US govt shutdown: What is it?

In each fiscal year, 438 government agencies rely on Congress for funding allocation, a period that concludes on September 30. Failure by lawmakers to pass these bills before the commencement of the new fiscal year results in these agencies experiencing disruptions in their regular operations.

The Congressional Research Service has recorded 14 instances of government shutdowns since 1981, with many of them being brief, lasting merely a day or two. The most recent shutdown, which occurred in December 2018 and extended into January 2019, was also the lengthiest, spanning 35 days. This extended closure was attributed to a disagreement concerning border security.

Check what could be impacted from October 1, 2023.

Law and order

Despite the anticipated disruption, federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI and DEA plan to remain fully operational. In contrast, assistance to local police departments could be impacted. Criminal prosecutions will continue, but most civil litigations will be pushed to the back burner.


Critical healthcare agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would maintain essential functions like outbreak monitoring, but more than half of the agency’s staff would be suspended. Moreover, new clinical trials could be delayed as most of the staff at the National Institutes of Health would also face furloughs.

Air travel

While air traffic controllers and airport security screeners are required to work, previous shutdowns have shown absenteeism to be a significant issue. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has warned that a shortage of qualified air traffic controllers could make it worse, Reuters reported. Major infrastructure projects could face delays due to disrupted environmental reviews and permitting processes.

Economic indicators

Important economic data, including monthly unemployment figures and price reports, would be temporarily suspended, affecting market sentiment and possibly leading to investor uncertainty.

Federal services

Federal courts can sustain operations until mid-October but might have to cut back services after that. US embassies will stay open though nonessential official activities would be limited. Some foreign aid programs risk running out of funds.


While benefits like Social Security and Medicare will continue, the Education Department warns that prolonged shutdowns could severely curtail aid to educational institutions. Food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program may be affected as grocery stores will not be able to renew licenses.

(With Reuters inputs)

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Updated: 23 Sep 2023, 10:01 AM IST

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