You may have read or heard the recent news about a potential government shutdown. What is a government shutdown, and what does it mean for my post office?
What is a government shutdown?
One of the responsibilities of Congress is to fund the government. The House and Senate must agree on how to fund the government, and the President must sign the legislation into law. Sometimes, Congress does not agree on the federal budget or appropriations bills for the upcoming fiscal year, which results in the temporary closure of nonessential offices of the federal government (and the withholding of pay to federal employees). Since 1976, there have been 22 funding gaps, with 10 of them resulting in workers being furloughed.
A government shutdown can result in delays at airports, museum and park closures, and disruption in funding for government programs like food and water inspections. Roughly two million federal employees and two million active-duty military troops and reservists will not receive paychecks. Essential federal employees like air traffic controllers and law enforcement professionals will continue to work, often without pay.
On September 30th, with just hours to spare, a government shutdown was narrowly avoided – but the stopgap measure passed will only last for 45 days.
What does a government shutdown mean for my post office?
Fortunately, the postal service is considered essential and operates as an independent entity that is generally funded through the sale of their products and services (and not by tax dollars). Their services will not be impacted by a government shutdown and all post offices will remain open for business as usual. Rental payments for leased postal facilities are also not affected during a shutdown and continue uninterrupted.