If Congress doesn’t pass a bill to fund the government past Friday and doesn’t get President Barack Obama to sign it by midnight Thursday, there will be a government shutdown for the second time in as many years. Republicans received the blame for the 2013 government shutdown, which was tied to the president's health care law, and would like to try to avoid a repeat in 2014.
While there’s optimism a government shutdown will be averted, there’s still a chance it could happen. A funding bill was expected to be introduced Monday in the House. If it includes so-called riders, or measures that are unrelated to the $1 trillion "cromnibus" spending bill, such as environmental or labor policy, it would not be supported by Democrats and the White House would signal a veto, Politico reported. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said her members would not vote for a bill that has “destructive riders,” including provisions she said would lower workplace safety, clean water and school lunch standards, Newsmax reported. "Whatever you think of them, they have no place on an appropriations bill," she said.
If that kind of scenario plays out, here’s what will happen during a 2014 government shutdown:
1. The Statue of Liberty will get lonely. National monuments and all 58 national parks will be shuttered during a government shutdown because there would be no money to fund operations.
2. Government workers will be binge-watching Netflix. Non-essential federal workers will also not get paid. About 800,000 government workers were furloughed during the 2013 government shutdown (Congress later passed a bill to enable them to receive back pay). During the 16-day shutdown, Netflix saw a 15 percent spike in weekday traffic in the Washington area. "It was obvious that more people were watching Netflix on those two weeks than the previous two weeks," Cam Procera, vice president of global marketing at Procera, a technology firm, told the Huffington Post back then.
3. It will take longer to get a loan. Banks use government systems to verify Social Security numbers and other personal information for private loans. They couldn’t access those systems during last year’s government shutdown, according to Office of Management and Budget. Meanwhile, loans backed by the federal government were delayed during the 2013 government shutdown.
4. Federal clinical trials will be on hold. Ill Americans seeking experimental treatments funded through the National Institutes of Health will have to wait. There were hundreds of patients impacted by last year’s shutdown, according to OMB.
5. We might not know how safe our food is. Health and safety inspections had to be canceled during the 2013 shutdown, since they involve federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.