Who might keep working, who might not

April 6, 2011

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If budget negotiators cannot reach a deal by 11:59 p.m. Friday, parts of the federal government would go dark and thousands of federal workers would be sent home on furlough. The administration has not detailed which workers would be temporarily let go, but this is what happened in the last shutdown, which ended in early 1996, according to reports from the Congressional Research Service:

■ About 280,000 workers, 10 percent of the executive branch’s 2.8 million civilian employees, were furloughed.

■ 368 National Park Service sites were closed, with a loss of some 7 million would-be visitors.

■ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped tracking the spread of diseases, such as AIDS and the flu.

■ Toxic waste removal at 609 sites was suspended. In New England, the Environmental Protection Agency furloughed 805 of 825 regional employees.

■ Work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases ceased, and investigations into child support cases were put on hold.

■ Federal entitlements, such as Social Security and Medicare benefits, continued to be paid, but the processing of new applications was delayed.

“Essential’’ employees who stayed at work through the shutdown included:

■ Air traffic controllers.

■ Military and border security personnel and federal prison guards.

■ Health care employees who provide inpatient and emergency care.

The US Postal Service continued to deliver the mail through the shutdown.