Yes, Virginia, NORAD will track Santa on Christmas Eve, even if the government shuts down.
Unlike in past government shutdowns, the military’s budget has been approved, so the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Pikes Peak region’s other posts and bases won’t be affected.
Neither will their thousands of civilian employees. Hundreds of thousands of other federal workers nationwide would be furloughed or have to work without pay.
President Donald Trump on Thursday said he wouldn’t sign a short-term spending bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday because it didn’t include $5 billion he has demanded for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
About 25 percent of the federal government will run out of money Friday night and be forced to shut down if a deal isn’t reached. The rest of the government, including the military, is funded through September by spending bills passed earlier this year.
Funding has not yet been approved for the Department of the Interior, so a government shutdown is likely to force the National Park Service to close.
Colorado’s four national parks, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Rocky Mountain, as well as a slew of national monuments, national historic sites and other properties could also be closed during a shutdown.
“At this point, we are not going to speculate on any possible change in government operations,” said a statement provided by two of the state’s National Park Service properties. “At this point, we are open and continue to welcome visitors.”
The Rocky Mountain National Park visitor’s centers would be closed in the event of a shutdown, Kathy Brazelton, the park’s district interpreter, told The Denver Post. Bathrooms would be available on a limited basis, and park rangers would be on duty for safety reasons.
“We’d try our best to still have the park available for the public, regardless of the fact that we’re in a shutdown,” Brazelton told the newspaper. “Even if we’re closed and the gates are still open, all park regulations still apply. Sometimes people think they don’t.”
Getting a passport could be more difficult because funding for the State Department also will expire Friday, the New York Times reported. Visa and passport services will continue “as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations,” a department spokesman told The Times, adding that passport agencies located in government buildings affected by a lapse in appropriations may become “unavailable to the public.”
But the U.S. Postal Service won’t be affected, said Colorado spokeswoman Linda Neill.
“Postal Service operations will not be interrupted in the event of a government shutdown, and all post offices will remain open for business as usual,” Neill said. “Because we’re an independent entity that is funded through the sale of our products and services and not by tax dollars, our services will not be impacted by a government shut down.”