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7 ways the federal shutdown is affecting Connecticut

January 7, 2019

The partial federal government shutdown is now in its third week, and threatens to become the longest ever in United States history.

It’s having a tangible effect in Connecticut in a variety of ways, some of them unexpected.

Here are 7 ways the federal shutdown may very soon or is already affecting Connecticut.

1. Courts could stop prosecuting

The federal public defender’s office has 23 employees in Connecticut, all of whom will work without pay or refuse to work at all on Friday, should the shutdown not be resolved, the Hartford Courant reported.

But with no money flowing from Justice Department, Connecticut’s federal courts could stop prosecuting civil cases altogether and, should the shutdown continue for “months or even years,” as President Donald Trump suggested it might, criminal cases would halt as well.

The agencies whose workers are not currently being paid include the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Prisons, Customs and Border Protection, Coast Guard and Secret Service.

2. Don’t expect a tax refund

All Internal Revenue Services operations have stopped, according to an internal memo posted on the IRS website. “An IRS-wide furlough began on December 22, 2018, for everyone except already-identified excepted employees.”

That means that any scheduled refunds will not be issued, though your taxes will still be due on tax day.

3. Passports are not being issued or renewed

The Social Security Administration will be sending out social security checks this year, but with most agency functions shuttered for the duration of the shutdown, that means no new or replacement Social Security cards.

That affects the State Department, too, meaning no passports are being issued or renewed, according to the Connecticut Mirror.

4. Many national parks are closed

There are five national parks in Connecticut, some of which will remain open but have limited services for the duration.

An alert on the National Parks website reads, “Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice. Some parks are closed completely. Some visitor services may be available when provided by concessioners or other entities.”

5. Air traffic control is affected

Air traffic controllers at Bradley International Airport are working without pay, and face losing their jobs completely if they choose to stay home, the Courant reported.

There are about 15,000 air traffic controllers in the United States — some in Connecticut — who are marked “essential.” That means they’re working, but not getting paid.

6. Airports are less secure

Unpaid TSA workers across the country are calling in sick, many calling it a “blue flu,” according to NBC.

As of Friday, 150 TSA workers at Kennedy International Airport called out sick, The New York Times reported.

7. You can’t buy a home

The problem isn’t the loan itself — FHA loans, or any made through the VA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are moving forward. The problem is the IRS can’t verify your income or provide key tax return documentation, according to the Connecticut Mirror.

In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, won’t write the flood insurance policies needed to buy a home along the coast.

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