I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
I’m NOT an expert (an "expert" 2 ME knows 101%-NOT me). I believe in sharin info•helping where I can! And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise. At least you have some basic info to get you started.
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Saturday, October 12, 2013

U.S. Governmental ShutDown - what it means for U.S. Citizens in Costa Rica??

Here is what the shutdown means to the average citizen

If the U.S. government shuts down today, the world will keep on turning. But some government functions linking the United States to the rest of the world will be affected, as will many domestic services. To better understand the crisis and its potential impacts, here is  a primer.

1. How would a shutdown affect U.S.-global relations?
Consular Operations: U.S. consular operations overseas will remain operational as long as there are sufficient funds to support them, according to the State Department. That means the State Department will keep processing foreign applications for U.S. visas and passports, and providing services to U.S. citizens overseas as long as it can.

Consular Staff: The State Department will apply a furlough to locally employed staff, including foreign nationals, depending on local labor laws in each country. In general, State Department locally employed staff will be required either to report to work as directed by their supervisor, be given a paid absence, or be placed on ordinary furlough status.

Diplomacy: State Department travel would be limited to that necessary to maintain foreign relations essential to national security, or dealing with emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. So, for example, travel would be allowed for the negotiation of major treaties and for providing essential services to refugees.

Green Cards: Most employees working for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will stay on the job, which means applications for U.S. green cards, or legal permanent residency, should continue as usual. The agency gets its money from fees people pay for immigration services and benefits, which means its employees are not dependent on congressionally-approved appropriations bills.

Homeland Security: The Department of Homeland Security’s Procedures Relating to a Federal Funding Hiatus designate about 86 percent of its more than 200,000 employees as essential for the “safety of human life or protection of property.” That means work will continue as usual for most Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection employees, airport screening officers, U.S. Secret Service agents, and other people in passenger processing and cargo inspection at ports of entry and the detention of drug traffickers or undocumented immigrants.

Military Operations: The military’s 1.4 million active-duty personnel would stay on duty, although they would be paid later. About 400,000 people, half of the Defense Department's civilian employees, would be sent home without pay.

Tourism: Foreign tourists taking a U.S. vacation might be disappointed if they were planning on trekking through the Grand Canyon in Arizona or the National Zoo in Washington. The rangers who run these sites are considered non-essential federal employees, so the national parks will be closed.

2. What economic impacts would there be on the U.S. and the world?
If the shutdown lasts a few days, any financial hardship would be felt mostly by furloughed workers.

If the shutdown lasts a few weeks, tourism revenues would slip and anxious American consumers and businesses would think twice before spending money.

If the shutdown is followed by a default on the federal debt, which could happen in a month if Congress does not act, foreign investors would really start to worry about the strength of the U.S. economy. They may lose confidence in the U.S. ability to pay back loans, triggering higher interest rates from foreign lenders. Even worse, foreign investors may not feel confident buying U.S. bonds.

3. What would make the U.S. government shutdown?
The government is like a car. Its fuel is money. If the car isn’t refueled, it stops running. The U.S. Congress is responsible for refueling that car, and it does that by passing spending bills. The new budget year begins on Tuesday, and Congress is nowhere close to agreeing on spending laws. As a result, the government, without funding, would slow to a stop.

4. Why can’t lawmakers agree on a spending bill?
The Republican and Democratic parties disagree on a plan to provide health care insurance to millions of uninsured Americans. Republican members of the House of Representatives are refusing to sign an appropriations bill that includes funding for the health care program, known as “Obamacare.” Democratic members of the Senate are refusing to sign a spending plan that does not fund Obamacare.

5. Has this happened before?
Yes, the government has shut down 17 times since 1977. The last shutdown was the longest, lasting 21 days from Dec. 16, 1995, to Jan. 5, 1996.

6. How would the shutdown proceed this time?
Federal agencies are alerting their staff as to who is essential and who is non-essential. Staff deemed essential will continue working. Everyone else will be furloughed, going home without pay. Essential employees will be paid, but only after an appropriations bill is passed.

7. How many U.S. government workers could be furloughed?
Of the 3.3 million government workers, approximately 800,000 could be sent home without pay or any assurance they will be paid back for their unwanted time off.

8. Can a furloughed worker work?
They could, but there would be consequences. Technically, it’s illegal for a government worker to perform any of their duties during a government shutdown. That even includes checking their work email.

SOURCE:  AMCostaRica.com/100113.htm#32 - via wire services

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