US government shutdown: What happens and who is affected?

Congressional leaders express optimism they can reach a deal before deadline

A partial government shutdown is days away in the US but congressional leaders offered some hope that a deal could be reached before the March 1 deadline.

Friday represents the first of two deadlines Congress faces to keep parts of the government open. The second is March 8, by which time they must reach a deal to fund eight other federal agencies.

President Joe Biden convened Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries at the White House on Tuesday to find a path forward on a deal to keep the government open, as well as to pass more security assistance for Ukraine and Israel.

But for any deal to be made, Mr Johnson must find support within his Republican caucus, where a hardline group of US politicians represents a significant obstacle to overcome.

“We believe we can get to an agreement on these issues and prevent a government shutdown and that’s our first responsibility,” Mr Johnson said.

What happens if the US government shuts down?

Should Congress fail to fund the government, federal agencies will be required to halt all non-essential operations. Essential functions will continue, however.

This will affect a series of activities, from the national parks to passport applications.

Some federal employees will also be told to not report to work. More than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed during the 2013 shutdown, as explained by the Office of Management and Budget.

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