Are post offices open during the government shutdown?
Credit: Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post via Getty Images

On January 19th, Congress failed to pass a bill to fund the federal government, triggering a shutdown. The jury is still out on whose fault the shutdown is, but in the meantime, here’s what you need to know about the 2018 government shutdown.

1 What is a shutdown?

A government shutdown is triggered when Congress fails to approve funding for the government. This year, Congress shut down the government in protest of the Trump administration’s failure to pass a replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. During a shutdown, federal employees that are considered nonessential don’t work and receive a pay cut. Essential government operations continue, however.

2 The shutdown is still going on.

The shutdown is entering its third day as of January 22nd. Congress is scheduled to vote on whether or not to fund the government for three weeks at noon Eastern Time on January 22nd, but if the measure fails, the shutdown will continue.

3 Senators and Representatives will still get paid.

Congress members continue to receive paychecks during a shutdown. But, unfortunately, “nonessential” workers including janitors, security guards, and other low-income federal employees won’t be compensated.

4 Active duty military won’t be paid.

According to the military’s website, active duty troops must continue to work during the shutdown, but unless Congress passes a separate bill, they will not receive payment for days they work during the shutdown. Retired service members will receive their pension as usual, however.

5 The post office is still open.

The United States Postal Service is not funded by taxes, so it is among the organizations staying open while the government is closed.

6 The DMV will remain open, too.

Since each DMV is funded by its respective state, DMV operations will not cease during the shutdown.

7 Most national parks won’t close this time.

In 2013, many national parks shuttered as a result of the government shutdown. But this year, the Trump administration has promised to keep most parks open for the duration of the shutdown. But in many cases, park employees won’t be working.

8 So far, the 2013 government shutdown was longer.

Under the Obama administration, the government shut down for 16 days in 2013. Of course, it’s hard to say how long the 2018 government shutdown will continue, so in the end, this shutdown might be longer than the last.

We hope that members of Congress will reach across the aisle to end the shutdown soon.