With the Affordable Care Act tied to the federal budget, and the Senate and House of Representatives about as cooperative as a herd of sugared-up, nap-free toddlers, it seemed inevitable that the government would shut down at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday...and it did.
A government shutdown hasn't happened since way back in 1995 (or in 2003 if you're at all inclined to count The West Wing as "real"). Most of the services you're used to will still basically work (mail still gets delivered, military keeps on doing military things and the people in airports won't just walk off the job), but there are a few things government won't be doing until Congress figures out how to get out of this death grip and get the show funded again.
1. So you want to buy a gun.
You've always wanted a bang-bang. In fact, you've saved up all your pennies for the last five years and you've already got your gun-totin' outfit all picked out. You're gonna go get yourself that gun permit bright and early tomorrow? Think again. The shutdown impacts the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives so, to translate, long as the shutdown lasts, you're dream gun will have to wait, CNN reports.
2. You want to talk to the Internal Revenue Service about your taxes.
Tough luck. Government workers who are deemed "essential," like law enforcement, get to stay on, though they won't be getting paid for a while so they aren't likely in a good mood about it, but "non-essentials" will not be working. Go on and call the IRS call center to ask why your taxes are too high, or inquire if your dog needs to pay taxes -- it'll ring and ring and they'll never answer because essential they are not, according to the LA Times. Also, that tax exemption you requested expires October 15, so if you're just now figuring out that whole tax thing, better find a buddy because there will be no help from the IRS hotline. 3. You're camping in a Yosemite and you haven't heard about the government shutdown that started four days ago.
Good luck, dude, and we hope you brought plenty of supplies. If the shutdown happens -- and isn't immediately resolved -- all national parks will be closed and campers will be given two days to get out of said parks. We like to think that this will work the way it works when workers close a bookstore -- walking the aisles and flushing everyone out -- but the park employees won't be getting paid so they may not feel like being super-thorough before they hit the lights, lock up and leave. Same goes for national museums like the Smithsonian and the National Gallery, according to the Washington Post. All places you don't want to be stuck in, because the government workers that would let you out, well they're on furlough, man.
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4. You're a nonessential federal employee, but you're a workaholic, so you'll just volunteer your time.
You've got another think coming. It doesn't matter if you're a White House aide or you really like helping people figure out where the bathrooms are in Yellowstone Park or you just really hate sitting at home because your family is needy, your cat doesn't like to see too much of you or you're only happy when filing something -- you still won't be allowed to just give Uncle Sam your time without getting paid. A 19th century law put the kibosh on volunteers because the government doesn't want the bums coming back around asking for back pay post-shutdown, according to D.C. lawyer Ray Natter.
5. You've finally bought that ticket for Paris and now all you need is your passport to live your dream.
Hate to break it to you buddy, but you won't be going to the City of Light to party like Hemingway and get lost trying to find the Eiffel Tower. Passports aren't of the essential things when there is no working federal government. The Department of State says it has a little bit of outside funds to keep it going, but if this shutdown drags out like the last one did, those funds won't last very long, and once that money is gone there will be no passport for you, according to USA Today.