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Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government Shutdowns

September 26, 2023 11:01 AM | Shelly Dupre (Administrator)

The new fiscal year (FY) begins on October 1, 2023, and Congress has so far enacted none of the 12 appropriations bills setting discretionary spending levels. Lawmakers have until midnight on the final day of the fiscal year – September 30 – to enact legislation to fund the programs covered by the appropriations process, or the government will shut down. A continuing resolution (CR) to allow lawmakers more time to complete work on spending bills is likely to be considered. A shutdown in FY 2024 would affect all federal activities covered by discretionary appropriations, as opposed to the most recent FY 2019 shutdown that began in late 2018 and extended into early 2019 that affected only departments and agencies covered by the seven appropriations bills that Congress had not yet enacted.

The comprehensive Q&A list answers each of the following questions: 

What is a government shutdown? 

What services are affected in a shutdown and how? 

Is the government preparing for a shutdown? 

How would federal employees be affected? 

How and why do mandatory programs continue during a shutdown? 

How many times has the government shut down? 

Does a government shutdown save money? 

How can Congress avoid a shutdown? 

What is a Continuing Resolution? 

How often does Congress pass CRs? 

What are the disadvantages of using CRs? 

How is Congress addressing funding? 

How does a shutdown differ from a default? 

How does a shutdown differ from “sequestration” or “sequester”? 

Source: Committee for a Responsible Federal Government

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