Government shutdown narrowly avoided: What it could have meant for Texas

Congress passed a bill on Sunday that will keep the government open until just before Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By Madeline Condor | Staff Writer

Congress passed a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, on Sunday, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. The House and Senate signed the bill an hour before the deadline.

“Congress passed a spending bill that will keep the government open until just before Thanksgiving,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on X, formally known as Twitter.

Under the Antideficiency Act, federal agencies cannot spend or place any money without approval from Congress. The cause of a government shutdown is Congress’ failure to pass its 12 annual appropriation bills after the previous appropriations have expired. Following this, federal agencies would have to cease nonessential functions until Congress acted.

Dr. Patrick Flavin, the Bob Bullock Professor of Political Science, said a government shutdown would have impacted important parts of state government.

“The new year for the fiscal year sets on [Oct.] 1, so if there’s no new budget passed by then, then certain parts of the government shut down,” Flavin said. “That is, only the parts that have to be funded on a yearly basis.”

Federal workers would feel the hit of a government shutdown more than most, Flavin said.

“Federal employees [would] either be staying at home, not working or working without a paycheck,” Flavin said.

San Antonio junior Alejandra Miranda has parents who are federal workers and said she has experienced what it means for the government to shut down.

“Having gone through several shutdowns before, my parents always have a backup plan leading up to the potential shutdown, so my parents do limit their spending and up their savings,” Miranda said. “Knowing their expenses is important and just to know how much money to set aside, and as a family, we do tend to limit ourselves on spending money on things we don’t necessarily need.”

There are aspects of a government shutdown that would affect Baylor students directly too, Flavin said.

“There are longer wait times for things like passport applications and basically anything that involves applying for government benefits,” Flavin said. “There’ll be a delay on that. For those who want to visit national parks, some could be closed.”