BOSTON (CBS) – First, the good news.
Social security checks will still be cut, doctors and hospitals will get their federal reimbursements, TSA officers will continue to provide airport security, as will other agencies deemed essential like the FBI and Coast Guard.
Now, the bad news.
The single largest group of federal workers in Massachusetts are Postal Service employees, more than 16,000 of them. They are exempt from any shutdown because they don’t get funded by the normal congressional process.
Among the nearly 25,000 other active federal workers here, about 7,400 work for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and according to federal documents, most of them will be unaffected by a shutdown.
In particular, medical care, compensation and pension benefits, housing, and burial services will continue as normal.
The biggest impact will likely be felt by the more than 6,000 Defense Department employees here at places like Hanscom and Natick labs. According to a memo released today by defense officials, all active-duty service members will be unaffected. Other military personnel and civilian employees deemed “necessary” will continue to go to work but won’t be paid until the shutdown ends. But non-essential civilian workers will go on unpaid furloughs.
And if you were planning an outing to one of our state’s national parks like the Charlestown Navy Yard, they will be open but without the usual services such as tours and open bathrooms.
State officials say there would be limited impact from a brief shutdown. But if it dragged on for weeks federal funding for things like unemployment benefits and housing subsidies could dry up.
The 16-day shutdown in October of 2013 cost the economy an estimated $6 billion in lost output and the consumer confidence index dropped by nearly 13 percent. It’s hard to believe either party in Washington would want to risk a rerun, but then again, there’s a lot of news out of there that’s hard to believe.