Since the modern congressional budgeting process took effect in 1976, the government has shut down 17 times. With another one looming, many are wondering about possible consequences. Essential services, such as active duty military and air traffic control, VA hospitals and Social Security checks, would likely be exempt from a shutdown extending beyond 72 hours, while passport services, national parks and museums are likely to be suspended or closed as a result. Also likely, civilian employees at agencies including the Internal Revenue Service would be temporarily furloughed. "[L]ate tax filers facing an Oct. 15 deadline would find the phone lines at the [IRS] dead," according to The Washington Post.

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