Here’s how the federal government shutdown is impacting Hawaii

Congress scrambled to prevent a partial shutdown of the federal government by passing a...
Congress scrambled to prevent a partial shutdown of the federal government by passing a temporary funding bill.
Published: Dec. 22, 2018 at 4:40 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A partial federal shutdown took hold late Friday after Democrats refused to meet President Donald Trump’s demands for $5 billion to start erecting a border wall with Mexico.

So what does a partial government shutdown actually mean?

In short, nine federal agencies are impacted: The departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury.

Some 800,000 federal employees nationwide work at those agencies and more than half are deemed “essential” — which means they’ll have to work without pay. The others are furloughed.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, said Hawaii is more fortunate than other states because most of the state’s federal employees are defense-related. Defense employees are not impacted by the shutdown.

“No shutdown is good for anyone," she said. "But in terms of Hawaii and what we’ve gone through in the past, if you were to compare it, it’s not as crazy as we’ve had to endure.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, told Hawaii News Now that President Trump is to blame for the shutdown.

“I am very sorry that the president has brought us to this path," she said. "Here’s a president who’s so fixated on his wall ... (but) let’s just say the only real wall is the one that’s closing in on him.”

Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter on Friday night to defend his position.


Will the shutdown delay package deliveries?

No, the U.S. Post Office is an independent agency and isn’t affected by the shutdown.

Similarly, the military also should remain unaffected along with air traffic control.

Could it delay Social Security checks?

No, the Social Security Administration is funded through September 2019 and so checks will be distributed on time.

Medicare also isn’t affected by the shutdown.

What about airports? Will travelers be impacted?

The shutdown isn’t expected to have an impact on travel.

TSA agents are considered “essential” and so will be working, even though they’re not being paid.

All federal law enforcement agents are considered essential and will be required to report to work.

Is the National Weather Service affected?

Some 3,600 weather service forecasters will continue working without pay.

Also affected: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Employees there are also considered essential so they’ll be reporting to work without being paid.

“All of the life-saving functions of the National Weather Service, including us here at Pacific Tsunami Warning Center will continue normally,” said Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Director Chip McCreery.

"Our staff will all be reporting to work normally throughout the shutdown. I can’t tell you the details of how the pay schedule will work, but we will continue to work regardless.”

What about national parks?

While national parks may remain open, about 16,000 National Park employees are furloughed.

Popular attractions at Pearl Harbor, including the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, are open thanks to financial support from several nonprofits. But some programs could be affected.

Meanwhile, most employees at the Commerce Department, NASA, HUD and the IRS are furloughed.

Will food stamps be impacted?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said food stamps will continue to be distributed in the short-term, but funding could run out if the shutdown is lengthy.

Advocates also warned that the shutdown could hamper efforts of the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which provides supplemental food to food banks across the country.

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