It's been 17 years since we last experienced a government shutdown. Under the Constitution, Congress must pass laws to spend money, but if they cannot agree on a spending bill, then the government no longer has the legal right to spend money.
According to the Congressional Research Service, there have been 17 shutdowns since 1977. After House Republicans refused to drop demands that parts of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) be delayed in return for approval of a mandatory funding bill, the country found itself in its latest dilemma.
So what exactly is going on with 2013's government shutdown? Here are 8 ways it will affect you:
1. Hundreds of federal employees will need to work without pay until the shutdown ends. This includes many in charge with protecting us from terrorist threats, defending our borders, inspecting our food, and keeping our skies safe. Thousands of additional federal workers will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed without pay.
2. Immigration courts will most likely be unable to process all cases in a timely fashion. With a government shutdown, only 402 of the total 1,339 employees will be in the office and of these 402, only 153 are attorneys who will most likely be busy focusing on cases involving detained clients.
3. All park services are now closed. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, the loop road at Acadia National Park in Maine, Skyline Drive in Virginia, and Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, which is home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, will all be off limits to visitors.