According to www.news12.com : "What a government shutdown means Federal agencies are in danger of shutting down if an agreement is not reached by midnight Friday on a budget. A shutdown would affect many services considered non-essential and could have a wide-ranging economic impact. Services that WOULD be affected: The Internal Revenue Service would suspend processing paper tax returns, but would still handle electronic returns. Its tax hotline would be turned off and tax audits would be suspended. IRS The FHA, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, would stop guaranteeing loans. The White House says the issuance of government-backed loans to small businesses would be suspended. National parks would be closed. The Environmental Protection Agency would cease issuing permits and stop reviewing environmental impact statements which will slow approval of projects. U.S. military personnel would not get paid beyond Friday. However, they will continue to earn money that would be paid once the government resumes business. Passport offices will be closed. Staffing across the executive branch will be cut significantly, including workers at the White House and civilian employees at the Defense Department. The White House says about 800,000 workers will be affected. At the National Institutes of Health, groundbreaking medical research would experience a disruption. Patients already being treated at the facility in Bethesda, Md., would still get care, but new patients won't be admitted. No new studies of drugs or other treatments would begin. Federal courts will not hear cases as employees such as clerks, stenographers, bailiffs and security guards will not be at work. Most government websites won't be updated, unless the websites and information was considered to be essential. Services NOT affected: Under long-standing federal rules, agencies would not be affected that provide for U.S. national security, dispense most types of federal benefit payments, offer inpatient medical care or outpatient emergency care, ensure the safe use of food and drugs, manage air traffic, protect and monitor borders and coastlines, guard prisoners, conduct criminal investigations and law enforcement, oversee power distribution and oversee banks. Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries will still continue to receive benefits. Payments to doctors, hospitals and other service providers could be delayed, however, should a shutdown continue for several months. Mail will still be delivered. Compiled with AP wire services "