What is the likely impact of a government shutdown? Will it effect our critical infrastructure?
If the Federal Government were to shut down on April 8th, 2011, we can look to the last prolonged shutdown (from Dec. 16, 1995, to Jan. 6, 1996) and a report by the Congressional Research Service for potential impacts, examples include:
- Health - New patients were not accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical center; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ceased disease surveillance.
- Law Enforcement and Public Safety - Delays in alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives applications and cancellation of federal law enforcement hiring.
- Parks, Museums, and Monuments - Closure of National Park Service sites and significant impact to tourism.
- Visas and Passports - Applications by foreigners for visas and U.S. applications for passports went unprocessed; and U.S. tourist industries and airlines reportedly sustained millions of dollars in losses.
- American Veterans - Multiple services were curtailed, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel.
Past government spending shutdowns did not directly or immediately impact the function of critical infrastructure and key resources. Nonetheless, as I assert in opinion on my personal blog, there is a potential for effects due to a prolonged shutdown.