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September 30. 2013 11:52PM

Shutdown won't affect critical NH services

Mail will still be delivered, U.S. District Court in Concord will be open and seniors will still receive their Social Security if the U.S. government shuts down.

For the most part, federal agencies will be open, but many will be staffed by only essential personnel, which could translate into service delays. So if you want or are waiting for a federal loan for a house or small business, or need a passport, it could mean a longer wait.

Contingency plans for every federal agency can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/obm in a search for "contingency plan."

Critical services provided by Homeland Security, the FBI and air traffic controllers, to name a few, will not be affected, but exactly what will happen at other agencies with non-essential personnel remains to be seen.

According to USA Today, the IRS will still collect taxes, but audits will be suspended, while all national parks will shut down and campers already in them will be given a two-day notice to leave.

A shutdown could greatly affect the popular White Mountain National Forest, particularly now that it is peak foliage season.

"We're still planning for all employees to come to work tomorrow (Tuesday) morning," White Mountain National Forest spokesman Tiffany Benna said. "Based on what does happen, we'll either prepare for an orderly shutdown or potentially be funded."

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined fellow senators in voting unanimously to approve legislation to ensure that active duty, Guard, and Reserve service members can continue to be paid in the event of a government shutdown.

The legislation also provides the secretary of defense with the authority to pay Department of Defense civilian workers — including some 1,700 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

In the case of U.S. District Court and the Cleveland Federal Building in Concord, both will remain open for business. According to the court's website, if no agreement is reached in the first 10 days of October to fund government activities, the Judiciary will reassess the situation and make changes.

All proceedings and deadlines remain in effect as scheduled, unless otherwise advised.

Estimates are that of the 2.1 million federal employees, 800,000 to 1,000,000 will be furloughed. In 1995, the last time the U.S. Government shut down, it was 21 days before Congress passed a budget.


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