Center for American Progress

5 Immediate Effects of a Partial Shutdown of the Federal Government on March 2

5 Immediate Effects of a Partial Shutdown of the Federal Government on March 2

Here are five ways that a partial shutdown of the federal government could immediately affect you if Congress does not make its March 1 deadline.

A group of people is seen holding signs outside of the U.S. Capitol building.
People hold signs during a news conference on government funding outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on January 11, 2023. (Getty/Kent Nishimura)

In mid-January, President Joe Biden signed into law another so-called laddered continuing resolution (CR), very similar to the mid-November CR. This legislation continued the funding covered by the 12 appropriations bills at the prior year’s levels. And like the last laddered CR, it staggered when funding for different portions of government will run out, with the same tranches of funding.

While members of Congress and their staffs have been working on writing bills that adhere to the budget deal and have largely been able to come to an agreement on funding levels for the programs being debated, some conservative House Republicans have been insisting that new extreme partisan “riders” be added to these bills.

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Absent additional appropriations, funding for programs in the following 4 of the 12 appropriations bills will lapse on March 2, leading to a partial government shutdown, with the remaining eight bills set to lapse on March 9:

  • Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
  • Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies
  • Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
  • Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Starting on March 2, the following would happen immediately:

  1. Nearly all of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair housing activities would cease, leaving some people without access to federal assistance dedicated to resolving illegal housing discrimination based on protected classes such as race, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, marital status, religion, and national origin.
  2. Housing loan assistance for Native American veterans would pause, potentially leaving Native American veterans unable to obtain a mortgage and, therefore, potentially unable to close on an offer.
  3. New capital from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development programs would grind to a halt, curtailing its new projects for rural areas for housing and health care; water and wastewater infrastructure, electricity infrastructure, and communications infrastructure; and first responder services and equipment.
  4. Many legal services for and provided by the VA would cease, leaving some veterans unable to obtain interpretation of legal matters and counsel on adjudications of tort claims.
  5. More than 100,000 federal workers would go without pay. While a 2019 law mandates that direct federal employees will eventually receive back pay whether working or furloughed, those employees would not receive any pay for any new work starting March 20 or days furloughed during the shutdown. This may cause some government employees to miss paychecks and/or have them prorated. Workers who contract directly with the federal government are not guaranteed back pay and are unlikely to be made whole.

During a prolonged shutdown, more services would cease, leaving many people without essential assistance. You can read more detail about these five immediate effects here, and you can read more about federal government shutdowns here, including some effects during a prolonged government shutdown.

The authors would like to thank Jean Ross, Brendan Duke, Lily Roberts, Laura Rodriguez, Alan Yu, Allison McManus, Rudy deLeon, Laura Kilbury, Edwith Theogene, J Phillip Thompson, and Emily Gee for helpful suggestions as well as David Correa for research assistance.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Bobby Kogan

Senior Director, Federal Budget Policy

Jessica Vela

Research Associate, Inclusive Economy


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