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Press Release

Washington, D.C. — On October 1, 2023, the U.S. government will shut down should Congress fail to reach an agreement on funding across its 12 appropriations bills for the new fiscal year. A new column from the Center for American Progress breaks down five immediate effects of a shutdown that will be felt across the country. 

While the complete impact of a federal shutdown varies by agency, program, and how long the shutdown ends up lasting, this column explains five immediate effects of the shutdown starting October 1: 

  • Some preschoolers will have nowhere to go. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be unable to award new Head Start grants, leaving as many as 10,000 children immediately without Head Start and its associated benefits, with the number growing as the shutdown continues. 
  • Worker safety is endangered. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will have to limit workplace inspections, leaving workers vulnerable to potential hazards and safety risks. 
  • Public health and environmental safety is undermined. Most of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-led inspections for drinking water facilities will stop. On top of this, the EPA’s oversight and review of plans and permits to ensure clean water and protect communities from health hazards will stop as well. 
  • Some sick children may go without needed health care. The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) contingency staffing plan commits to only providing care for existing patients. During the 2013 shutdown, NIH said it would only in rare cases treat new patients, leading it to turn away approximately 200 patients for care each week, including sick children. 
  • Millions of workers go without pay. As many as 4 million people will go without pay, regardless of whether they are working or are furloughed after October 1. 

“The immediate harms of a government shutdown threaten community health, safety, and economic security,” said Bobby Kogan, senior director of federal budget policy at CAP and author of the column. “The longer a shutdown lasts, the more of the government simply breaks. Government is supposed to work for the American people. It can’t do that when it’s shuttered.”

Read the column: “5 Immediate Shutdown Effects” by Bobby Kogan and Jessica Vela 

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at [email protected].

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