Government Goings-on... or off

federal shutdown

Well, it happened. Government shut down and the Insurance Marketplace opened.

Here’s a bit of information that might help with questions about these goings-on.

The Insurance Marketplace… Is everyone is anxious for a checkup or merely curious onlookers because the marketplace website is overwhelmed with traffic this morning. This is the message displayed when one tries to get through:

Health Insurance Marketplace: Please wait -- We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we're working to make your experience here better. Please wait here until we send you to the login page. Thanks for your patience!

If you trying to access the site advise, please be patient… after all, we have several months to explore options and purchase coverage.

The Government Shutdown… Who goes to work? Employees in areas considered to be essential services will continue to report to work, nonessential are furloughed until further notice. The following list came from the Washington Post, also check out this infographic from the NY Times: http://nyti.ms/19f4Muv

  • Any employee or office that "provides for the national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property." That means the U.S. military will keep operating, for one.
  • Any employee who conducts "essential activities to the extent that they protect life and property." So, for example: Air traffic control stays open. So does all emergency medical care, border patrol, federal prisons, most law enforcement, emergency and disaster assistance, overseeing the banking system, operating the power grid, and guarding federal property.
  • Agencies have to keep sending out benefits and operating programs that are written into permanent law or get multi-year funding. That means sending out Social Security checks and providing certain types of veterans' benefits. Unemployment benefits and food stamps will also continue for the time being, since their funding has been approved in earlier bills.
  • All agencies with independent sources of funding remain open, including the U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Reserve.
  • Members of Congress can stick around, since their pay is written into permanent law. Congressional staffers however, will also get divided into essential and non-essential, with the latter getting furloughed. Many White House employees could also get sent home.

Oklahomans employed by the federal government in nonessential positions also received furlough notices today.