WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Westchester residents must now deal with a federal government shutdown and its ramifications for the first time in 17 years starting Tuesday morning after Congress failed to agree on a spending plan.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a spending bill that denies funding for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which will start Tuesday. Oct. 1 also marks the first day of the Fiscal Year, which lasts through Sept. 30, 2014.
The Democratic-controlled Senate then voted to kill that House legislation last night, creating the impasse that has led to the shutdown.
Since 1977, there have been 18 government shutdowns. None lasted more than three days.
While much is unknown about the latest, including how long it will last and its economic effects, one thing is certain. Millions of Americans, and thousands of Westchester residents, will be missing services.
Here is what will occur as long as the shutdown is in effect:
* Armed forces, fire, police, public safety, medical and air traffic services will continue.
* Approximately 800,000 Federal workers deemed “non-essential” will be placed on furlough, resulting in an estimated loss of $1 billion a week in wages to Federal workers.
* National parks will be closed first thing this morning. This includes such iconic sites as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in Manhattan and the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In Westchester, the lone facility impacted will be St. Paul's Church in Mount Vernon.
* Permits for guns, alcohol and tobacco will not be processed.
* Social Security checks will continue to be issued.
* The Postal Service, which functions as an independent business unit, will remain open.
* Medicare will continue to operate as is.
* Affordable Care enrollment will still begin as scheduled today, Oct. 1, with health-care coverage starting in January, 2014.
* There is funding for food stamps to last another full year thanks to the 2009 Recovery Act.
* There is no telling how long passports will be available during the shutdown. It depends on the undisclosed amount of money the State Department has to appropriate beyond the amount allocated by Congress.
* Most food safety inspections will continue.
* Veterans' Affairs services will be closed, but Veterans' hospitals will remain open.
Check back to The Daily Voice for more updates throughout the day.