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If Funding Compromise Is Not Reached 400,000 Federal Employees Will Work Without Pay


President Trump has said that if lawmakers do not reach a deal, that the looming shutdown could last a very long time - his words. Well, what would the consequences of that be? NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: About a quarter of the government, nine Cabinet-level federal agencies and dozens of smaller ones would for the most part close in a shutdown. About a third of the national parks will close, says Emily Douce of the National Parks Conservation Association.

EMILY DOUCE: Anything that doesn't have really a lock and key will be open. So trail and open country and so forth will be open. But anything that's, like, a cultural, historic site behind a lock and key will likely be closed.

NAYLOR: And at the parks that are open, facilities like visitor centers and restrooms will be locked. Leaving the parks open is not without risk for visitors and the parks themselves. Douce points to incidents that occurred during a shutdown earlier this year.

DOUCE: There was a killing of a pregnant elk in Zion National Park. There were illegal snowmobile incursions in Yellowstone. There were impassable roads at Rocky Mountain National Park.

NAYLOR: Some 380,000 federal employees will be furloughed during a shutdown - that is, told not to come to work. Another 420,000 will be on the job but not getting paid. They include TSA officers, working during one of the busiest travel times of the year, along with Border Patrol, FBI and DEA agents. Republican Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina said yesterday it comes with the job.


MARK MEADOWS: It's actually part of what you do when you sign up for any public service position. And it's not lost on me in terms of, you know, the potential hardship. But at the same time, they know that they would be required to work.

NAYLOR: Meadows says he'll give up his paycheck for the duration of a shutdown. And in the past, Congress has always given backpay to federal employees, many of whom will be receiving what could be their last paychecks for a while tomorrow. Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE GO! TEAM'S "EVERYONE'S A VIP TO SOMEONE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.