Here’s a guide to understanding how Congress got to this stage and how a shutdown would affect you.
Question: Will the entire government come to a standstill if a deal isn’t reached?
Answer: No. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other “entitlement” programs that are funded automatically will escape the worst effects. But government agencies that rely on yearly congressional appropriations will be hit a lot harder. That includes giant agencies such as the Pentagon and smaller ones such as the National Park Service….
Q: Will I still get my mail?
A: Yes. The U.S. Postal Service isn’t funded by taxpayers. Independently financed agencies like the Postal Service won’t be affected.
Q: How did Congress get in this situation?
A: In a word, partisanship. Differences between Democrats and Republicans are deepening over virtually every issue, and federal spending is the biggest one of all.