Federal government shuts down

Ben Theobald

The federal government will be shut down Friday as Congress tries to resolve the budget deficit.

Federal employees or services are not expected to be working during the shutdown.

The Iowa Department of Education is not expecting to be affected by the shutdown.

“We don’t expect any immediate changes,” said Phil Roeder, head of communications at the Department of Education. “Based on our budget, if it’s a short term shutdown, we’ll continue to the end of the month. The immediate impact will be minimal because we are prepared to fund things through our budget at least to the end of April.”

The Iowa Department of Transportation could possibly take a hit from the event.

“It would potentially interrupt the funds to the state of our expenses,” said Dena Gray-Fisher, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation. “There is a potential of a little slow down. We are seeking reimbursement, which might be delayed.”

Federal parks will also be closed; depending on how long the shutdown lasts, there could be an impact on the tourism industry.

“People who made vacation plans are now in trouble,” said David Peterson, associate professor of political science. 

Peterson is planning on taking a trip to Chicago on the Amtrak, which is funded by the federal government.

“Amtrak gets one big transfer of money into the Amtrak budget,” Peterson said. “They can continue to operate based off the money they got from the federal government. If they run out of money, they are going to stop, and they don’t know when that will be.”

Though post offices are part of the federal government, they are expected to keep running as normal.

“Post offices are relatively sustainable,” Peterson said. “They should be able to stay open.”

Passports are expected to halt under the shutdown.

“Passports are stopping because there will be no one from the Department of State to process them,” Peterson said.

The last federal government shutdown occurred in 1995 under the Clinton administration.

“Each of these is going to play out differently,” Peterson said. “1995 is instructive for sort of what a shutdown means for day-to-day operations, but how it is going to politically play out, I don’t think it’s very instructive.”

The effects of the federal government shutdown will factor into whether or not it will be a short- or long-term event.