(NEXSTAR) – As Congress remains gridlocked, a government shutdown was looking more and more likely Wednesday. A shutdown, if it did start this weekend, would impact the military, some government benefits, and potentially hundreds of thousands of federal employees.
A large group of federal employees who won’t be affected, however, are workers with the United States Postal Service.
The USPS isn’t affected by a government shutdown because it doesn’t rely on taxpayer dollars for funding. The agency is funded through the sales of products and services.
That means, even if other federal service are disrupted, the mail would continue to be delivered as normal through a government shutdown, even if it lasts weeks.
That’s good news for folks waiting on a new batch of free at-home COVID tests, set to be delivered by the USPS. As of Wednesday, the USPS site where test kits can be ordered still said deliveries were scheduled to start the week of Oct. 2.
Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid would all continue to operate, as well. However, potential furloughs might impact customer service and create some other operational delays.
While the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to temporarily fund the government and avert a shutdown, the House hadn’t made progress toward doing the same by Wednesday afternoon.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy set up a test vote for Friday, one day before Saturday’s shutdown deadline, on a far-right bill. It would slash federal spending by 8% from many agencies and toughen border security but has been rejected by President Joe Biden, Democrats and his own right-flank Republicans.
“I want to solve the problem,” McCarthy told reporters.
But pressed on how he would pass a partisan Republican spending plan that even his own right flank doesn’t want, McCarthy had few answers. He rejected outright the Senate’s bipartisan bill, which would fund the government to Nov. 17, adding $6 billion for Ukraine and $6 billion for U.S. disaster relief while talks continue. Instead, he insisted, as he often does, that he would never quit trying.
Lawmakers have until late Saturday night, at midnight, to reach a deal and avert a shutdown.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.