How the government shutdown could affect Georgia
Georgia won’t be spared from the effects of a federal government shutdown.
Without a deal, the U.S. government will run out of funds this weekend. Many services will stop, and tens of thousands of federal employees in Georgia won’t get paid.
Depending on how long a shutdown lasts, here are some of the areas to expect to see impacts in Georgia.
Safety net programs
Funding for SNAP and Section 8 will be affected. And according to the White House, more than 220,000 pregnant people, mothers, children and infants in Georgia would lose help buying groceries through the federal nutrition program, WIC. But that won’t happen immediately; the Georgia Department of Public Health says it has three weeks of funding to keep WIC going.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s shutdown plans include retaining more than 40% of staff, including workers needed for life-safety operations and security at the agency.
Officials say the CDC’s 24/7 emergency operations center and laboratory functions would continue, as would work monitoring disease outbreaks, collecting and reporting health and hospital data.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or HHS, which oversees the nation’s COVID-19, pandemic flu, and hurricane responses, reports the agency would maintain “the minimal readiness for all hazards” in these areas.
HHS reports its efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic would continue, as would staffing levels needed to continue Medicare, Medicaid, and other mandatory health program payments.
For its part, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports most health-related services won’t be immediately affected by a shutdown.
At the Atlanta VA, veteran health care operations would continue. Officials say benefit processing, such as for veteran education, pensions and housing, would go on. Burials at VA national cemeteries would also continue.
Some other VA work would cease, including veteran outreach activities and cemetery grounds maintenance. Public-facing regional Georgia VA offices would shut down.
The more than 1,700 TSA officers and nearly 600 Federal Aviation Administration personnel in Georgia will go without pay but still be required to work. TSA officials say depending on how long the shutdown lasts, travelers could see increasingly long wait times as employees stop showing up to work unpaid.
The National Park Service will lock gates, close visitor centers and bathrooms, and furlough rangers. That includes for metro-Atlanta locations like the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Park, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Even though areas like trails might still be accessible, the Park Service is encouraging people not to visit them since there won’t be staff to help protect people’s safety or the safety of natural or cultural resources. Plus, they can’t guarantee that anyone will be cleaning bathrooms or emptying trash cans.
The nearly 64,000 active duty service members in Georgia will continue reporting to work but won’t be paid until the government is funded. Many civilian employees will be furloughed.
The Georgia Office of Planning and Budget says a one- to two-week shutdown would be considered brief and have little impact on most state operations. But people whose positions at state agencies are funded by the federal government will be furloughed. Retroactive pay for those employees will not be guaranteed by the state but will depend on federal appropriations, according to the state OPB.
Jimmy Carter’s birthday celebration
The nation’s longest-lived former president turns 99 on Sunday. Though the shutdown can’t change his birthday, it will close the venue. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is part of the National Archives, which is a federal agency.
The Carter Center has moved events celebrating Carter up by a day, with festivities beginning Friday and continuing on Saturday with $0.99 adult admission, birthday cake and a showing of “All the President ‘s Men,” the first movie President Carter watched in the White House.
If a shutdown is avoided, then the Library and Museum will host the celebration again on Sunday.
Carter has been in home hospice care since February and isn’t expected at the event, but did make a public appearance last weekend at the Plains Peanut Festival in his hometown.
DorMiya Vance, Jess Mador, Sam Gringlas, Christopher Alston, Molly Samuel and Rahul Bali contributed to this report.