What's changing, what's not, in a shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Campers in national parks are to pull up stakes and leave, some veterans waiting to have disability benefits

approved will have to cool their heels even longer, many routine food inspections will be suspended and panda-cams will go

dark at the shuttered National Zoo.

Those are among the immediate effects if parts of the government shut Tuesday because of the budget impasse in Congress.

In this time of argument and political

gridlock, a blueprint to manage federal dysfunction is one function that

appears to

have gone smoothly. Throughout government, plans are ready to roll

out to keep essential services running and numb the impact

for the public. The longer a shutdown goes on, the more it will be

felt in day-to-day lives.

A look at what is bound to happen, and what probably won't, barring a political breakthrough in the final hours:

• • •

THIS: Washington's paralysis will be felt

early on in distant lands as well as in the capital; namely, at national

parks.

All park services will close. Campers have 48 hours to leave their

sites. Many parks, such as Yellowstone, will close to traffic,

and some will become completely inaccessible. Smithsonian museums

in Washington will close and so will the zoo, where panda

cams record every twitch and cuddle of the panda cub born Aug. 23.

The Statue of Liberty in New York, the loop road at Acadia National Park in Maine, Skyline Drive in Virginia, and Philadelphia's

Independence National Historical Park, home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, will be off limits. At Grand Canyon

National Park, people will be turned back from entrance gates and overlooks will be cordoned off along a state road inside

the park that will remain open.

BUT NOT THIS: At some parks, where access is

not controlled by gates or entrance stations, people can continue to

drive, bike

and hike. It's not likely people will be shooed off the

Appalachian Trail, for example, and parks with highways running through

them, like the Great Smokies, also are likely to be accessible.

Officials won't be scouring the entire 1.2 million-acre Grand

Canyon park looking for people; those already hiking or camping in

the backcountry and on rafting trips on the Colorado River

will be able to complete their trips. The care and feeding of the

National Zoo's animals will all go on as usual.

• • •

THIS: The Board of Veterans Appeals will

stop issuing rulings, meaning decisions about some disability claims by

veterans

will wait even longer than usual. Interments at national

cemeteries will slow. If a shutdown drags on for weeks, disability

and pension payments may be interrupted.

BUT NOT THIS: Most Department of Veterans

Affairs services will continue; 95 percent of staff are either exempted

from a shutdown

or have the budget to keep paying them already in place. The

department's health programs get their money a year in advance,

so veterans can still see their doctor, get prescriptions filled

and visit fully operational VA hospitals and outpatient clinics.

Claims workers can process benefit payments until late in October,

when that money starts to run out.

• • •

THIS: New patients won't be accepted into

clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, including 255

trials for

cancer patients; care will continue for current patients. Federal

medical research will be curtailed and the government's

ability to detect and investigate disease outbreaks will be

harmed. Grant applications will be accepted but not dealt with.

BUT NOT THIS: The show goes on for President

Barack Obama's health care law. Tuesday heralds the debut of health

insurance

markets across the country, which begin accepting customers for

coverage that begins in January. Core elements of the law

are an entitlement, like Social Security, so their flow of money

does not depend on congressional appropriations. That's why

Republicans have been trying explicitly to starve the law of

money. An impasse in approving a federal budget has little effect

on Obamacare. As for NIH operations, reduced hospital staff at the

NIH Clinical Center will care for current patients, and

research animals will get their usual care.

• • •

THIS: Most routine food inspections by the Food and Drug Administration will be suspended.

BUT NOT THIS: Meat inspection, done by the Agriculture Department, continues. The FDA will still handle high-risk recalls.

• • •

THIS: Complaints from airline passengers to

the government will fall on deaf ears. The government won't be able to

do new

car safety testing and ratings or handle automobile recall

information. Internal Transportation Department investigations

of waste and fraud will be put on ice, and progress will be slowed

on replacing the country's radar-based air traffic system

with GPS-based navigation. Most accident investigators who respond

to air crashes, train collisions, pipeline explosions and

other accidents will be furloughed but could be called back if

needed.

BUT NOT THIS: Air traffic controllers,

airline safety inspectors and many of the technicians who keep air

traffic equipment

working will remain on the job, meaning air travelers should not

see much change. Amtrak says it can continue normal operations

for a while, relying on ticket revenue, but will suffer without

federal subsidies over the longer term. Federal Aviation Administration

employees who make grants to airports, most Federal Highway

Administration workers and federal bus and truck safety inspectors

will also stay on the job because they are paid with user fees.

Railroad and pipeline safety inspectors will also remain at

work.

• • •

THIS: Paychecks for military personnel will be delayed and about half the Defense Department's civilian employees will be

furloughed.

BUT NOT THIS: The 1.4 million active-duty military personnel stay on duty. Most Homeland Security agents and border officers,

as well as other law enforcement agents and officers, keep working.

• • •

THIS: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, could shut down. It provides

supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children.

BUT NOT THIS: School lunches and breakfasts will continue to be served, and food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition

Assistance Program, or SNAP, will still be distributed.

• • •

THIS: Economic data will be interrupted as

the Bureau of Labor Statistics ceases almost all operations. This will

leave the

stock market without some of the benchmark economic indicators

that drive the market up or down. The key September jobs report,

due Friday, could still be released on time if the White House

authorizes that, but that's not been determined. Statistical

gathering also is being interrupted at the Commerce Department and

Census Bureau. This means the government won't come out

on time with its monthly report on construction spending Tuesday

or a factory orders report Thursday.

BUT NOT THIS: The weekly report on

applications for unemployment benefits is still expected Thursday. The

Treasury Department's

daily report on government finances will be released normally and

government debt auctions are to proceed as scheduled. And

at Commerce, these functions continue, among others: weather and

climate observation, fisheries law enforcement and patent

and trademark application processing.

• • •

THIS: Some passport services located in federal buildings might be disrupted — only if those buildings are forced to close

because of a disruption in building support services.

BUT NOT THIS: Except in those instances, passport and visas will be handled as usual, both at home and abroad. These activities

of the Bureau of Consular Affairs are fully supported by user fees instead of appropriated money, so are not affected. As

well, the government will keep handling green card applications.

• • •

THIS: The Federal Housing Administration,

which insures about 15 percent of new loans for home purchases, will

approve fewer

loans for its client base — borrowers with low to moderate income —

because of reduced staff. Only 67 of 349 employees will

keep working. The agency will focus on single-family homes during a

shutdown, setting aside loan applications for multi-family

dwellings. The Housing and Urban Development Department won't make

additional payments to the nation's 3,300 public housing

authorities, but the agency estimates that most of them have

enough money to keep giving people rental assistance until the

end of October.

BUT NOT THIS: It will be business as usual for borrowers seeking loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together

own or guarantee nearly half of all U.S. mortgages and 90 percent of new ones.

• • •

THIS: Possible delays in processing new disability applications.

BUT NOT THIS: Social Security and Medicare benefits still keep coming.