COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A possible government shutdown is looming, and lawmakers have until midnight on Saturday to reach a deal on funding the federal government.
If not, the shutdown starts at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1.
Trying to stave off a federal closure, the Senate pushed ahead with a bipartisan stopgap measure to keep offices funded temporarily, through Nov. 17, to buy time for Congress to finish its work.
Many of the roughly 2 million military personnel could have their paychecks delayed if the government shuts down, along with more than 2 million civilian workers. There’s also the potential for furloughs for federal workers deemed non-essential.
According to the White House, travelers could potentially face flight delays in the government shuts down. Air traffic controllers and TSA agents are still required to work, but wouldn’t get paid until the government opens up again.
The last shutdown took place at the end of 2018 and into 2019 and lasted 35 days. During that shutdown, several controllers called out sick, sparking delays.
The Justice Department said FBI and other law enforcement agents would stay on the job, along with federal prison guards.
People will also continue to get their Social Security checks, regardless of a government shutdown. However, staffers at Social Security offices might be temporarily laid off, which could spark possible delays in verifying benefits and replacing Medicare cards. Medicare and Veterans Affairs benefit payments will also continue as normal.
The Mid-Ohio Food Collective (MOFC) has been around for more than 40 years and has been through government shutdowns. If one happens again, the food bank is prepared.
The last time a shutdown happened, the MOFC set up food distributions at the airport so agents and their families had access to food, since they were working without pay.
This possible shutdown is coming at a time when demand for the collective’s service is already high, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation.
“We’ve seen a major increase in people who never thought that they would need to ask for help before., but the truth is, so many of our neighbors are one bad day away from being in that position, of being unsure of how they put food on the table,” MOFC Senior VP of Communications Mike Hochron said.
If a shutdown occurs, the impact will increase as time goes on. For example, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which supports more than 7 million people, will be impacted almost immediately.
“While we are not seeing an immediate impact for SNAP, for food stamps, we are paying close attention,” Hochron said. “The longer the shutdown potentially goes on, SNAP could be interrupted in future months.”
The Child Development Council of Franklin County (CDCFC) operates Early Head Start and Head Start programs for about 1,500 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. According to the federal Office of Head Start, the CDCFC will continue to provide services in the event of a government shutdown. However, there is concern as 90% of the families fall below the federal government poverty level.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.