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Federal Government Shutdown: What’s Open and What’s Closed?

The US Capitol Building, viewed from the rear of the property.
The US Capitol Building, viewed from the rear of the property.

WASHINGTON, DC —  The US Senate will hold a vote this morning at 10 a.m. on whether to continue the partial government shutdown, sparked by an impasse that dragged past the midnight deadline to keep federal services running on Friday.

At issue was a failure of Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement on the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA, initiative, created in 2012 by President Barack Obama’s executive order. DACA allowed  hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the United States illegally as children to remain in the country. President Trump ended the program in September, and asked Congress to create its own solution within six months. Four months have since passed, with no solution ironed out by the Republican-led House and Senate.

Democrats have refused to vote for the spending bill keeping government open without a deal creating a law that will replace the executive order. Some Republicans also broke ranks with the GOP to vote against the spending bill.

Should the shutdown continue, here are a few things to know about what federal services will be affected, and which wont’.

The Post Office – OPEN

The US Post Office, run on the proceeds from its stamps and package shipping fees, is largely independent of the federal budget and will continue services normally today.

Social Security, Medicare, food stamps

Social Security and medicare checks will continue to be sent out and food stamps will continue to be distributed.

Military personnel

Members of the US military are expected to continue to report for work, but they will not be paid during a shutdown, according to

National parks, zoos, recreation

Most national parks will be closed during the shutdown.

Some parks in the National Park System may have areas that remain accessible to visitors, according to the National Parks Service’s Rhode Island page; however access may change without notice, and some parks are closed completely. Some lodging, restaurants, and other services may be available when provided by concessioners or other entities. There will be no National Park Service-­provided visitor services, including restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance.

Roger Williams Park Zoo: The park’s visitor center is closed, the park grounds are still open to the public.


Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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