Much about shutdown is still up in the air

rbarker@idahostatesman.comOctober 2, 2013 

What will be the biggest impact from this shutdown in Idaho?

Furloughs of federal workers. It was unclear Tuesday how many of the 11,750 Idahoans who work for the federal government will be furloughed. In other states, a third to half of federal workers were off Tuesday.

The impact will be especially hard in southwest Idaho, since 9,000 of Idaho's federal jobs are in Southwest Idaho.

Why was mail delivered?

The U.S. Postal Service is as an independent organization not dependent on Congress passing a budget.

What about Social Security benefits?

Even though the Social Security Administration will face furloughs, checks will go out because Social Security is considered a "mandatory" program.

So what about taxes?

The IRS is still processing payments, but audits and refunds might be delayed.

Will food safety inspections occur?

Safety related inspections will continue, but investigations into violations could be delayed.

What will happen to unemployment benefits and food stamps?

The Employment and Training Administration will hand out unemployment checks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said food stamps will go out.

Will troops be paid?

Congress passed legislation Monday to ensure members of the armed forces get paid on time as normal. Furloughed civilian workers won't be paid unless Congress passes legislation restoring lost income when the shutdown ends. That has happened in recent shutdowns.

What about other federal agencies in Idaho?

All of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Idaho offices are closed. Only limited functions would continue, such as those necessary to respond to emergencies and to protect human life or property.

The Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge's Lake Lowell and Snake River Islands units are closed. That also bars access to fishing and upland game, waterfowl and deer hunting there.

National parks and monuments are closed but national forests are open - without services such as campgrounds and picnic areas. But if a fire starts, it will be put out.

The Bureau of Reclamation will operate its dams, and other essential services will continue.

Rocky Barker: 377-6484

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