Possible Outcomes of DHS Shutdown

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) faces a government shutdown if congress cannot approve funding by midnight Friday. Barring passage of a funding measure, the DHS will go into a government shutdown. However, many in the public are not aware just how a DHS shutdown would affect them. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson was relying on this voter ignorance in his recent remarks that a DHS shutdown would provoke a “terrible disruption” in the lives of citizens. The fact is that well over 80% of the DHS’ workforce or 210,000 employees would remain on the job during any government shutdown. Current federal law designates them as begin essential for the preservation of life or protection of property & assets. As such, the US Coast Guard would continue patrolling the nation’s coasts and providing vital search & rescue efforts. Likewise, the Border Patrol would continue to perform its duties as would a range of other government agencies operating collectively under the DHS umbrella.

The impact of the shutdown would be more pronounced in communities with lots of DHS employees. This is because while most people at the DHS would remain on the job, their pay would be disrupted pending passage of a spending bill. It will likely cause many to experience financial consternation due to cash flow issues. According to Health Imagining reports, some suggest that non-essential employees at emergency response offices would lead to longer wait times to receive help. However, that is unlikely given that those essential to the performance of life saving duties will remain on the job. The GOP claims the impact of a DHS shutdown would be minimal.