State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Here's how PA would be affected in a government shutdown

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 19, 2018 8:42 PM

It's still unclear if the government will shut down. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- The federal government could shut down after midnight on Friday over lawmakers' inability to agree on--among other things--extending DACA, the program that protects young immigrants in the country illegally.

The last shutdown happened in 2013, amid fights over the Affordable Care Act.

If it happens, this one will have implications for many thousands of federal employees in Pennsylvania.

The commonwealth has over 96,000 such employees total, many of whom would be furloughed without pay for however long the impasse lasts.

There are certain exceptions -- such as emergency workers who protect people or property.

JJ Abbott, a spokesman for Governor Tom Wolf, said states have gotten some guidance from the White House on handling a shutdown. But he couldn't say for sure what would happen .

"At this point in time, Pennsylvania is still assessing the federal situation. If a shutdown occurs we will go through the appropriate analysis to determine impact and next steps," Abbott said. "Our focus through past shutdowns has been on making sure we deliver services to the citizens of Pennsylvania."

He noted that depending on how long a shutdown lasts, many federally-funded state programs could be affected.

Also affected would be federal parks, like Valley Forge and Gettysburg. They would close unless the state wanted to pay to keep them operating.

Federal programs like Social Security, Medicare, and food stamps would continue as usual, though users might see service delays. Delays would also be possible in federal courts and with the IRS, among other things. 

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