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Only government you don’t know about could go away in Illinois

By   /   September 30, 2013  /   News  /   4 Comments

Part 11 of 51 in the series Shutdown 2013

By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog

SPRINGFIELD — The government that most people know, and millions of people in Illinois use, is not going anywhere.

Lost in all the hype about a possible federal government shutdown is the reality that for most people, nothing will change.

But here are three people or groups in Illinois who will notice a government shutdown in Washington D.C.

Third graders

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OUTSIDE ONLY: If the federal government closes, this is all visitors would see of Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois Home.

In Illinois, it is almost a rite of passage to climb on to the school bus, rumble down the interstate for a few hours and end-up at the Lincoln Home in Springfield.

But in a government shutdown, Honest Abe’s two-story home will be closed to the public.

“That’d been like Marty Moose, only kidding,” Brian Bartley from Springfield MO joked about Chevy’s Chase’s meltdown in the movie “Vacation,” as Bartley got ready to tour the Lincoln Home on Monday.

Bartley said if the Lincoln home was closed, “We’d have just gone somewhere else.”


Bartley drove to Lincoln’s home. But tourists looking to fly to another country may be out of luck.

Passport services will stop as part of a government shutdown. If you have a passport, you’ll be able to come and go. But if you have waited to apply for a passport, your trip may depend on when the federal government once again opens for business.


Did you know that the Department of Commerce runs an office of International Trade Administration?

No? Neither did most other people.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of minor federal offices will be closed. Eventually that could have an impact on the thousands of state agencies or local nonprofits that have received federal grants.

The Department of Commerce has an 87 page document that lays out what will  be impacted by a government shutdown, or a “lapse of appropriation” as they call it.

The report states that mostly “non-essential” offices will be closed.

But what about the millions of people who depend on the federal government for benefits. For the most part, they will not notice a thing.

Here are three groups who will not notice a government shutdown.

The hungry

Two million Illinois residents will see their Link Cards reloaded on Tuesday. And that will happen, no matter what.

FIRST OF THE MONTH: Food stamps come to Illinois with or without a government shutdown.

FIRST OF THE MONTH: Food stamps come to Illinois with or without a government shutdown.

SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, will not be stopped by a government shutdown.

“The state government isn’t shutting down,” said Kristinia Rasmussen, vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute, who noted that the state essentially runs the food stamp program. “A lot of the benefits (that will continue) are entitlements and happen regardless of needing a resolution.”

The sick

The federal government pays for nearly half of Illinois’ $17 billion a year Medicaid program. That will not change if the federal government closes its doors for a while.

Hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and nursing homes will not feel a pinch from a federal shutdown. They are, however, feeling a pinch from Illinois’ ineptitude. The state owes Medicaid providers billions of dollars dating back five months, according to Mike Dropka, a spokesman for the Illinois Comptroller’s office. In all, Illinois owes nearly $7 billion in past due bills.

The cold

If you are cold in Illinois this week, it’s because you’re outside at night or in the air conditioning. It is expected to be in the 80s all week, according to the forecast from the National Weather Service. And the Weather Service offices will stay open during a government shutdown.

Ciaran Clayton, director of communications for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said “weather, water and climate observing, prediction, warning, forecast  and support” will continue if the government in D.C. shuts down.

So, if much of the government isn’t shut down by a shutdown, what’s the point?

“You begin to understand, we’re paying all this money and a lot of what government does is not having a direct or positive impact on our lives. Why do we need it?” Rasmussen asked. “And are we a bit freer if government shuts down for a day or two a week?”

Contact Benjamin Yount at [email protected] and find him on Twitter @BenYount.





Part of 51 in the series Shutdown 2013
  1. Shutdown plan: Virginia will carry federally funded state workers until Oct. 4
  2. OKC National Memorial and Museum will stay open regardless of federal shutdown
  3. TN rep equates looming government shutdown with hostage crisis
  4. Government shutdown won’t shut down NSA spying
  5. 7 myths about a federal government shutdown
  6. Obamacare goes full-speed ahead as military pay enters uncharted waters
  7. Shutdown sparks New Jersey confusion about Obamacare
  8. Federal shutdown could furlough 57,000 Virginians
  9. ‘Business as usual’ for PA state government as feds prepare for shutdown
  10. Union plans rally as MN braces for federal shutdown
  11. Only government you don’t know about could go away in Illinois
  12. Shutdown? NM seems OK on the state level, but federal workers will feel the pinch
  13. WI congressional delegation soldiers on in Obamacare-shutdown battle
  14. Shutdown? What shutdown? States will carry on despite impasse in Washington
  15. McAuliffe tries to ride shutdown to victory in November
  16. NM delegation on gov’t shutdown: It’s the other side’s fault
  17. Panda Cam goes dark as government shutdown cripples cute
  18. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin: I’m shutting down, too
  19. Missouri’s Wagner declines congressional pay during shutdown
  20. GIs take first battle of government shutdown
  21. The horror: Shutdown delays pro-Obamacare video contest
  22. Obamacare device tax ‘devastating’ to TN manufacturers
  23. Did The New Republic call for Obama to dissolve Congress?
  24. 4 reasons to cross the Potomac during the shutdown
  25. Are furloughed park employees trying to pick a fight on Facebook?
  26. Shutdown is ‘boom time’ for political fundraising
  27. Sorry Yogi: Reid calls move to open parks a ‘wacky idea’
  28. World War II vets 90, government shutdown 0
  29. Shutdown shouldn’t alter NM oil and gas bottom line
  30. FL tourism industry is magic, shutdown or not
  31. Fed shutdown leaves Americans stranded abroad
  32. Government shutdown brings relief to Main Street
  33. GOP’s Johanns: People mad, feel ‘duped’ into believing government shutdown would stop ObamaCare
  34. Chris Matthews’ weak grasp of government shutdown history
  35. U.S. senator turns total shutdown into partial shutdown
  36. Fed shutdown grounds plan to airdrop possibly harmful substance on TN land
  37. Ohio vets ready to storm World War II Memorial
  38. Some states battling with feds to keep parks, landmarks open during shutdown
  39. Federal tourist blockades called ‘vindictive’ in Virginia
  40. Veterans’ day: Ohio vets conquer World War II Memorial during government shutdown
  41. E-Verify: Is Obama happy to see right-to-work database go?
  42. Two battlefields raise the question: Who maintains Civil War sites?
  43. Contradictions abound in federal shutdown policy
  44. Park Service losing $76 million a day in shutdown
  45. Nebraska federal judge tells Congress to ‘go to hell’
  46. Shutdown renews call to move western forests, parks under state control
  47. How to make NM less vulnerable to federal gov’t shutdowns
  48. Are senators playing selective service in shutdown politics?
  49. Double dipping: Shutdown means double pay for Oregon federal workers
  50. No double dipping for furloughed federal workers in Virginia
  51. Not so fast: Federal workers in Wisconsin must repay unemployment benefits


Ben formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Cici

    Well the goverment ended up shutting down… usa.gov

  • Gina Pocan

    Somebody lied here because they shutdown ALL the Link Cards, so the poor will not eat this month, including the young and the very old. Bastards!

  • no name


  • Martin Heldt

    THIS time is just a glitch with the private contractor who runs the LINK card system.

    While it’s true that states “basically” run -as in operate the distribution of benefits-the food stamp program, if the federal government runs out of funds later this week then the federal money that fuels the food stamp program will be gone.

    The states can’t hand out the stamps without the federal cash.

    Americans will go hungry as a result of the tea party bozos holding America hostage.