OKLAHOMA CITY – While Congress has reached a band-aid budget deal, this would fund the government through Thursday only and could still mean a shutdown if a deal is not reached next week.
The short-term agreement reached between the White House and congressional leaders will cut billions of dollars in spending. Because drafting and then passing the broader legislation could take days, congressional leaders raced to approve a stopgap measure to prevent the onset of the first shutdown in 15 years.
Republicans said the deal called for $38.5 billion in spending cuts, a measure that one official said Boehner told his rank and file marked the "largest real-dollar spending cut in American history." Over a decade, the agreement would cut more than $500 billion from the federal budget, Boehner added, according to a participant in the meeting.
Congressman James Lankford (R-OK) issued the following statement after an agreement was reached:
"I am proud to support the budget agreement tonight that will avoid a government shutdown and ensure that our troops will continue to be paid, as well as preventing other federal employees from unnecessary interruptions in their pay and jobs. This is the first step of cutting government spending. I look forward to this agreement with $38.5 billion in spending cuts being finalized over the next few days and the final package being approved next week. We can then move onto the Fiscal Year 2012 budget where House Republicans will continue to advocate for even bigger cuts in government spending to restore fiscal sanity in Washington."
If a government shutdown happens, the following services will be impacted:
But the VA Hospital, the Post Office, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum and the federal courthouse will stay open. Unemployment, Social Security and Medicare checks will still come, but new applications for Medicare and Social Security will be delayed and no one will be available to answer questions.
Air traffic controllers will be working and customs and border patrol will still be in place.
At Tinker Air Force Base, 4,000 employees will be furloughed, 10,000 employees will not be furloughed.
"In a government shutdown, active duty military members will continue to report for duty. although they will experience disruptions in their pay," said Air Force Chief of Staff Michael Donley. When speaking about civilians Donley added, "Civilians who are employed to accomplish functions that are considered necessary to national security, safety of human life, and protection of property will be "excepted" from furlough if their function cannot be accomplished by a military member. Those civilian employees will continue to report to work."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates emphasized that service members will eventually get paid.
Police and firefighters are not federal government employees, so it will not impact public safety.
Despite the IRS not processing tax returns, people are still required to file by April 18. If you paper file your returns, those returns will be delayed. But while you may face issues with paper filing, the U.S. Treasury Department is encouraging people to e-file. They say those who file electronically would not be impacted by a government shutdown.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.