A government shutdown could affect thousands of people in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The deadline to avoid a government shutdown is days away. The president and congressional Democrats are doubling down on opposite sides of the demand for a $5 billion border wall.  Aides to President Donald Trump say he is not backing down from his ultimatum to Congress - fund his $5 billion border wall or a government shutdown is imminent.

Congress and the president have until midnight Friday to come to an agreement to avoid a shutdown.

The Democrats offered a $1.3 billion dollar deal for fencing and other border security measures, but it was shot down by the president.

The dispute could affect nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies.  Government sources say 74.9% of the government has already been fully funded by the five appropriations bills that were signed into law earlier this year and before the end of the Fiscal Year.  A potential government shutdown would only impact agencies or departments covered by the seven outstanding funding bills.

Agencies that would be affected by the shutdown include:

  • Agriculture, Rural Development, Food, and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
  • Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
  • Financial Services and General Government
  • Homeland Security
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
  • State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
  • Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

420,000 people will be working without pay, including TSA officers, in this latest threat of a government shutdown. While it means business as usual for holiday travel, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees released a statement saying it will have a big impact on these employees lives.

"With most of our union's members taking home about $500 a week, the loss of even one week of pay can impact their ability to pay rent, buy groceries, or even pay for the gas and parking required to get to work," stated J. David Cox Sr.

According to the US Appropriations committee, more than 380,000 people will be furloughed, including 96% of NASA staff. Thousands of employees at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center could be affected.

Officials released a statement saying NASA is still evaluating how it would be affected.

"In previous shutdowns, we have maintained personnel to support the International Space Station and its crew, and currently operating space missions, such as satellites, landers, and rovers, to ensure they're safe and secure," added Jennifer Stanfield, Senior Public Affairs Specialist. "This includes the payload operations integration center at NASA Marshall which conducts round-the-clock space station science support."

Meanwhile, it appears employees at Redstone Arsenal, who are part of the largest union in the state, will not be affected since funding bills have already been signed for the Department of Defense.

Government sources say the Department of Defense is among several agencies that will not be impacted by the government shutdown including:

  • Energy and Water Development
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
  • Legislative Branch
  • Military Construction and Veterans Affairs

How will a shutdown affect holiday shipping?

The U.S. Postal Service is included on the list of potentially impacted federal employees and the potential closure couldn't be at a worst time. It's the peak of the Christmas shipping rush, their busiest week of the year.

They're expected to deliver 3 billion packages the week leading up to Christmas and the good news is, USPS will not be affected by the government shutdown.

"All post offices will remain open for business as usual," the USPS explained in a statement, "Because we are an independent entity that is funded through the sale of our products and services, and not by tax dollars, our services will not be impacted by a government shutdown.'"

Music to the ears of small business owners and for everyone else hoping their packages make it under the tree on time.

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