What a government shutdown would mean for Washington state

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SEATTLE — The federal government will effectively shut down if Congress can’t pass a spending bill by midnight Friday.

During the last government shutdown in 2013, nearly 1 million workers were furloughed nationally, costing the government $2.5 billion in lost productivity. During a shutdown, the workforce at intelligence agencies would pare down, U.S. embassies may shutter, and visa programs would slow.

But what about here locally? Do most Washingtonians survive unscathed?

Below we’ve listed some of the biggest impacts to local residents, and what they can expect if the government grinds to a halt.

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1. Mount Rainier, the Olympics and the North Cascades will close to visitors

Federal parks, monuments and museums close during a government shutdown. Gates will be shut and camping reservations will be canceled.

This may change, however, as the Washington Post reported Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was working to keep parks open, as many warmer sites like the Everglades are in peak season. The Post also reported some national museums would stay open, but there would be no guides.

2. Most federal workers in Washington would be furloughed

According to governing.com, there are more than 54,000 federal civilian employees in the state, as of 2016. That doesn't include the nearly 50,000 active duty military members.

Most of those federal civilian employees will be furloughed; not allowed in their office buildings and even not allowed to check work-issued cellphones. Workers will "probably" still get paid, according to Federal News Radio. However, the pay may be late.

3. JBLM will stay open, but pay may be late for active-duty military

Military.com says active-duty troops would stay on the job, but would not get paid until the shutdown is over or until a separate piece of legislation is passed. Military retirees would get pension checks, but some disability pay may be held up until legislation is passed.

4. Certain cancer treatments may stop

This impacts relatively few, but for a few hundred people, it may be life changing.

According to a 2013 article published in the Seattle Times, certain exploratory treatments funded by the National Institute of Health may be put on pause. These aren't normally funded cancer treatments, but clinical trials for certain diseases. Though the impact is small, it may hurt those who need it most.

5. The CDC may stop monitoring the flu - which is on an uptick in the Northwest

During the 2013 shutdown, the Centers for Disease control and Prevention paused its monitoring of the flu. The CDC is instrumental in monitoring flu outbreaks.  The flu is particularly bad in the Northwest right now, with more than 140 confirmed flu cases reported at Overlake Medical center in one six-day period earlier this month.

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