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Q&A: What would a government shutdown mean to you?

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Why shouldn’t it shut down?

The federal government provides critical services to Americans and without funding, most would stop. Beyond the immediate impacts, there could also be lingering effects when the government starts working again and piles of undone work remain. National security efforts could be hurt, the already-shaken U.S. economy could take a hit and those relying on federal payments or federal paychecks might struggle to pay for food or rent.

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Is this different than the debt ceiling?

Yes. The Treasury Department has warned the federal government will hit its debt ceiling, the maximum amount it can borrow, by mid-October but this looming government shutdown deadline is unrelated. The lack of a budget, or a resolution continuing government spending past Sept. 30, is the issue at hand, though the debt ceiling fight will surface soon as well.

How does this relate to Obamacare?

Republicans, mainly Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, are using the budget fight to try and kill any funding for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as it’s also known. It it should be noted, however, that because the health care law is funded outside of the discretionary budget, similar to Social Security, funding for Obamacare wouldn’t actually be affected.

Sources: Tribune reporting, the Congressional Research Service

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