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Alex Brandon / AP

Without a spending bill, parts of the government began shutting down early Saturday for the third time this year. That means most federal services, including the Departments of State, Justice, Transportation, and Homeland Security, will close temporarily.

Why it matters: Even if you aren't a government employee, a shutdown can still affect you personally — from how your tax dollars are spent to which tourists sites you can't visit.

What could happen

420,000 federal employees will be working with delayed pay, per CNBC, including:

  • Over 41,000 law federal law enforcement officers from various departments
  • The majority of Homeland Security employees
  • Around 54,000 Customs and Border Protection employees
  • Several thousand Forest Service firefighters and National Weather Service forecasters

Another 380,000 federal employees would be furloughed, meaning they won't be going to work and won't be getting paid. This will include:

  • 96% of NASA employees
  • 86% of Commerce Department workers
  • 30% of Transportation Department employees
  • 80% of Forest and National Park Services
  • 95% of Housing and Urban Development workers

What it means for you:

  • Mail: The U.S. Postal Service is an independent agency that doesn't rely on tax dollars to operate, so your mail will still be delivered.
  • Your wallet: When the government shut down for 16 days in 2013, it cost taxpayers $2 billion in lost productivity, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Tourism: All national parks, museums, and zoos will be closed. You might also have trouble getting a passport.
  • Transportation: There could be some airline and train delays, as "non-essential" employees will be furloughed.
  • Food stamps: You can still collect these. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a mandatory entitlement program.
  • Federal courts: The courts won't close their doors immediately, but they could be affected if a shutdown lasts more than 10 days, according to past guidance.
  • Social security: You will still receive payments under the program, as it is deemed mandatory by the government.
  • Loans: Whether you own a small business or are planning to buy a house, you'll have to wait if you need a loan from the government.

One government entity that won't be affected by a partial shutdown? The office of special counsel Robert Mueller, which is "funded from a permanent indefinite appropriation."

Go deeper: Trump's Christmas shutdown spooks GOP

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.