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Six Ways a Federal Government Shutdown Affects Austin (Update)

Update: The federal shutdown has happened and it's affecting some Central Texans.

All three presidential libraries in the state are closed – including the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin. The San Antonio Missions and Big Bend National Park are also closed.

At Fort Hood, some civilian workers are now on furlough and many services on the post are either shut down or scaled back – including the commissary. Right now, the medical center at Fort Hood will be open at least through the rest of this week.

NASA employees – including those at the Johnson Space Center are also being affected.

Some things not affected include air traffic control workers and TSA employees at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. An ABIA spokesman says it’s just a normal, busy travel day at the airport.

Original Story (Sept. 30, 12:26 p.m.): Amid all thegovernment shutdown talk, it’s easy to forget how the shutdown would immediately affect citizens on a local level. Here’s a rundown on what's in store:

  • Don’t make any plans to visit national parks or historic monuments this week. 

Nearby sites that would be closed include the LBJ Presidential Library, the LBJ National Historical Park, and the San Antonio Missions National Historic Parks. “Rule of thumb: If it's usually free, it's probably closed,” writes Gregory Korte with USA Today.

  • Expect delays.

If you have plans to apply for social security, Medicare, a passport, or other government programs, expect a longer than normal waiting period for your application to go through. While these organizations will still be in operation, shutdown furloughs could make them shorthanded in the coming days.

  • Military families could get the short end of the stick in the coming week – or weeks, depending on the duration of a potential shutdown.

An extended shutdown would mean closures of commissaries, health clinics, and a delay in paychecks. There are safety nets for these families if a paycheck delay means that bills cannot be paid. The National Military Family Association has a full list of potential impacts and management sources.

  • The shutdown would furlough government employees deemed as non-essential.

That classification could include court employees, civilian military employees, and more. This could affect as many as 800,000 workers across the country, according to some estimates, including several hundred in Central Texas. 

  • Get your flu shot early.

With a shutdown, the Center for Disease Control will be limited in its prevention actions. The City of Austin has information on clinics across town that can provide immunization shots to your family.

  • Planning to start a local business, or take the plunge and buy that house? You might want to wait.

Some federal loans may be delayed, such as those that would fund small businesses and homebuyers.
If the government shuts down tomorrow the immediate impact will likely be moderate. How long the shut down lasts will determine the severity of the impact on the country and locals. Historically, shutdowns have lasted anywhere from a few hours to twenty-one days. 

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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