How does the government shutdown affect you?

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Jan 22, 2018 at 1:48 PM

In the third day of the government shutdown that resulted from a political stalemate in Congress over failure to reach a budget agreement, thousands of non-essential federal government workers, including civilian military workers and some workers at national parks, will be temporarily out of work. But the good news is that the shutdown has had a relatively minimal impact on local services across Northeast Tennessee. 

Here is an overview of how government services will be affected. 

National Parks and Forests

All campgrounds at the Cherokee National Forest are closed for the winter season, so there hasn’t been much of an effect in this regard. But camping and visitor centers are closed and other national parks’ camping services throughout the state will be closed regardless. Much of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will still be accessible, due to the fact that the park’s main road isn’t gated; however, there will be no services available.  Some national park emergency workers, law enforcement rangers, dispatchers and a few maintenance employees will continue working.


According to East Tennessee State University’s spokesman Joe Smith, the government shutdown has not disrupted any federally-funded services at the university.

“There’s been no disruption to services and operation here as a result of the federal shutdown,” Smith said.

As for research funding through grants, Smith said there has been no lapse in funding, however, school officials are “continuing to monitor the situation as it goes forward.”


Getting a new passport could prove difficult during the shutdown if the stalemate in Congress continues, causing a delay in applications. Airports will remain open and officials from the Transportation Security Administration, as well as air traffic controllers, will remain employed during the shutdown. 

Veteran Services

Officials from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Johnson City told Johnson City Press that their services have not been affected, as they provide an essential service and have been funded “one year out.” 

Postal Services

Local residents will still get their mail during the federal government shutdown. The U.S. Postal Service receives its own funding from fees and stamp revenues.

Social Security Benefits

Being an essential service, Social Security Administration offices will remain open, even if Congress fails to pass a spending bill.

Gun Permits

Employees at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are not working, so permits likely are unavailable.



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