The federal government could shut down Sunday because of a budget impasse in Congress and the repercussions would quickly reach Maine.

Here is what to expect in Maine, based in part of what followed shutdowns in 2013 and 2018.

More than 11,000 federal workers in Maine would be furloughed or expected to work without pay.

Essential workers, such air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Administration screeners and members of the military, would be required to work, but would not be paid for that work until a budget deal is reached and federal operations are funded. As a result, air travel would not be disrupted and national security work would continue – as long as essential workers continue to work without pay .

Acadia National Park would likely close its gates at the height of foliage season, disrupting the travel plans of tourists and sending economic ripples throughout Bar Harbor and the surrounding region. The park service is not revealing any contingency plans for the shutdown, but Acadia closed during previous federal shutdowns in 2013 and 2018.

Food assistance for roughly 18,000 women and children in Maine would be jeopardized.


The White House has warned that the shutdown would jeopardize nutritional assistance for 7 million women and children nationwide who are helped by the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children. That number includes 18,000 people in Maine.

Access to some federal programs, including applications for small business loans, federally backed home mortgages and passports could grind to a halt.

Social Security benefits would continue so recipients would not feel a disruption in benefit checks. “That is not a concern that an older individual who is receiving Social Security or anyone receiving Social Security disability should have,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Mail delivery would  be unaffected because the U.S. Postal Service does not depend on Congress for funding.

Federal courts, including in Portland and Bangor, are expected to remain open for at least two weeks past Oct. 1, using fees and other funding. After that, they could close.

Border crossings would still be staffed and Border Patrol and the Coast Guard would continue to operate.

Maine’s state government could lose funding for certain programs and personnel that are fully or partially supported with federal funds. State officials are reviewing those potential impacts and said they could not provide details Monday.

Maine exceeds the national average for the portion of its state budget that relies on federal funding. In fiscal 2021, 41.4% of Maine’s revenue came from federal sources, compared to 36.7% percent nationally, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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