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Web, web, wherefore art thou in a government shutdown?

Screenshot of President Barack Obama's Twitter page.

Jeremy Hobson: There's still no deal on the budget for the rest of this fiscal year despite late night negotiations at the White House. And the deadline to avoid a shutdown is midnight tomorrow. If the government does close, things will be different than they were during the last shutdown in the mid-90s. For one thing, we're fighting two wars. And Defense Secretary Robert Gates told troops in Iraq yesterday that their pay may be delayed.

Also -- unlike in the 90s -- much of the federal government is on the Internet now.

And Marketplace's Janet Babin reports some federal websites could go dark.


Janet Babin: E-filing your taxes may be the way to go this year. The online tax filing system is automated, so it's expected to stay active even if the government shutdown happens and paper tax returns are put on hold.

But other government websites won't work anymore. It depends on whether the government decides they're essential.

Stan Collender: If it involves the government spending money, there'll be a real question about whether that activity can continue.

That's Stan Collender, a federal budget expert with Qorvis Communications. He says Facebook and Twitter updates might not be considered essential functions. Or they could stay active, so the president can communicate directly with the American people.

Collender: We're crossing a new threshold in the information age with this, so we'll have to wait and see how it's interpreted.

One online government service that is expected to shutter is E-Verify, the system employers use to confirm whether new hires are eligible to work in the U.S. And that would slow down new hiring.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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