John Boehner planned a strategy session later today with House Republican leaders to plot their next move, but the prospects of avoiding a government shutdown before Monday's midnight deadline are getting bleaker by the hour, reports Politico. For one thing, no negotiations between Republicans and Democrats are even on the horizon, because both sides feel they've already staked out their positions. The Hill also thinks a shutdown is "increasingly likely," and USA Today has rolled out a primer on what it would mean to ordinary citizens: Yes, you'll get your mail, and neither Medicare, Social Security, nor Medicaid will be affected.
But scores of other federal programs and activities will come to a halt: Forget visiting a national park or museum, and expect delays in everything from passport applications to gun permits to mortgage approvals. USA Today estimates that 40% of non-defense federal workers will be furloughed during the shutdown, and the Washington Post has details on how the Pentagon is scrambling to prepare. In short, it's a logistical mess, with about 400,000 civilian employees told they'd have to stay home unless a deal is reached. “The planning itself is disruptive,” says the Defense Department's comptroller. “People are worrying right now about whether their paychecks are going to be delayed, rather than focusing fully on their mission.” (Read more government shutdown stories.)