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Shutdown looming

Rochester, N.Y. - Congress has just four days left to reach a compromise and avoid the first government shutdown since 1996.

Most services would remain unaffected in the event of a shutdown.

The U.S. Postal Service would continue its deliveries, Social Security checks would still be paid, troops would continue their work, but a bevy of programs and services would be at risk of ending, at least temporarily.

Unemployment benefits are among the items that would likely cease should the federal government shutdown, according to a list compiled by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport).

"It would be detrimental for me," said Odell Herring, a former cashier and machine operator who is collecting unemployment. "I get a little unemployment, and all of it is going toward rent. I'm living on a poverty scale, now."

Among the other items at risk, federally backed home and small business loans.

13WHAM News spoke with several local banks who say they do not expect a disruption in their business despite the potential shutdown.

"The bank has the option to issue the loan without the SBA guarantee," said Jan Pisanczyn, Regional Director of the NYS Small Business Development Center.

Farm subsidies and payments to farms are also among the services that could dry up.

The deadline for Congress to reach an agreement that would allow the federal government to continue spending money is October 1.

Louise Slaughters office provided 13WHAM with the following list of which services would be affected by a possible government shutdown:

In the case of a shutdown, these critical services would not cease:
Social Security checks for seniors, people with disabilities and survivors would still go out. But new Social Security applications will likely not be processed during any shutdown, as during in the previous shutdowns.
Critical homeland security functions such as border security would continue.
The Postal Service, which is self-funded, will continue to operate.
The FAA would keep the air traffic control system open and safe.

These services would be affected:
Unemployment benefits: The federal funds that help states pay the costs of their unemployment programs could be affected depending on the length of the shutdown.
Law enforcement: ATF would cease processing
Troop pay: while our troops would continue to serve, their pay would be put on hold by the shutdown
Veterans' services: While VA hospitals will remain open, veterans' benefits could be delayed or reduced, as was the case during the last shutdown.
National parks: National parks and the National Wildlife Refuge Systems would be among the first places to close if the government shuts down.
Passports: Passport and visa applications will not be processed. In the 1996 shutdown, over 200,000 passport applications and 30,000 daily visa applications went unprocessed.
IRS processing of tax refunds for some returns would be suspended.
FHA new home loan guarantees may cease.
SBA approval of applications for business loan guarantees and direct loans to small businesses would likely cease, impacting the engines of our economy and potentially slowing the economic recovery.
Farm loans and farm payments would cease.
Museums: National museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, would close in the event of a government shutdown.
Access to the U.S. Capitol: Guide and staff-led tours of the Capitol will be canceled. The House Gallery will remain open.

Evan White, 13WHAM-TV
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