If lawmakers don't reach an agreement by the end of Thursday — the last day of the fiscal year — the federal government will officially close as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday.

How will this affect you in Grand Rapids?

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If the government does shut down, that means National Parks could close. Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore could close. So could Isle Royal National Park and Keweenaw National Historic Park. Your weekend trip might be in jeopardy.

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Mortgage and other loan applications could be delayed because the IRS could stop verifying income and Social Security numbers. You might not be able to close on a new home purchase. The Federal Housing Administration and Small Business Administration may not be able to process new loan applications either.

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Federal workers could be furloughed.

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If workers with the FDA and CDC are not deemed essential, it could affect clinical trials of the COVID vaccine for children ages 5-12. Pfizer said it had sent data to the FDA on its clinical trials on Tuesday.

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Social Security payments will continue as they are mandatory spending programs. Food stamps will continue to be delivered. However, people covered by Medicare and Medicaid and other services could be disrupted. Benefit verification as well as card issuance could be halted during a shutdown.

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The National Science Foundation, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Institute of Standards and Technology all could be shut down.

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These areas most likely won't be affected by a shutdown as they are deemed essential:

  • Border protection
  • In-hospital medical care
  • Air traffic control
  • Law enforcement
  • Power grid maintenance
  • U.S. Postal Service, USPS doesn't rely on federal tax dollars for its operating budget.
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This could be the 21st federal government shutdown since Congress introduced the modern budget process in 1976 — the last one ending in January 2019.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.