8 weird things you’ll see if the government closes

No cable, canceled field trips and other unexpected results of a government shutdown.

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When shutdowns happen things get weird. Outside of a majority of federal workers being furloughed from work, a handful of services will stop or go on contingency plans.

There are also a few quirky things you might notice if you are still going to work or using government services.

Federal News Radio compiled a list of some of the weirder things you might see if the government shuts down.

No cable

If you’re an essential employee and headed into work don’t expect to have CNN on in the background. During the last shutdown, the Pentagon curtailed seemingly-minor creature comforts such as cable TV for service members serving overseas. The Armed Forces Network took all but one of its channels off the air because of furloughs at its broadcast center in Riverside, California.

Care packages

As much as troops want to hear from their families and get letters and gifts from their families, it’s unlikely that will happen if the government shuts down. In 2013, DoD saw its support services take a hit. DoD held back care packages to troops in Afghanistan because of abrupt staffing cuts in the military postal system in Europe.

NASA visits

Wanted to check out Goddard Space Center? Sorry, not going to happen during the shutdown. Public access to NASA centers and facilities will be canceled. That means all tours and public education visits. Way to ruin a field trip.

NASA’s website will also go down and NASA Television will go off air, so that school report on the stars will have to wait.

Nuclear weapons

Almost all of the Energy Department is nonessential, but the National Nuclear Security Administration falls under its jurisdiction. If some sort of nuclear event happens during the shutdown, NNSA workers will be recalled from the shutdown to help transport weapons.

Food safety

The Food and Drug Administration will be unable to support a majority of its food safety, nutrition and cosmetics activities. Routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities and import monitoring will cease.


The Centers for Disease Control will lose funding for its annual influenza program. Outbreak detection, non-communicable disease prevention programs and updates to disease prevention recommendations will stop.

Drug testing

Did something you weren’t supposed to with a certain substance? Fear not, the Transportation Department will have to suspend its drug testing on employees.

DOT will also have to stop its approval of drones and close its aircraft registry.


The Office of Railroad Policy provides funding for Amtrak. The service can only run on ticket sales alone for a couple weeks without government assistance.

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