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When will we know if the government is shutting down?

(NEXSTAR) – Lawmakers still have time – but not much – to avoid a government shutdown. The deadline is fast approaching and Congress appears to be at an impasse.

Lawmakers have until the clock strikes midnight on Saturday night (or early Sunday morning, depending on how you look at it) to reach a deal. Otherwise, a government shutdown will be triggered.

We may not know for sure whether the government will shut down until the final moments before the deadline. In years past, negotiations have come down to the wire.

Thursday evening, the Associated Press reported a shutdown “appeared all but inevitable.”

While the Senate has proposed a bipartisan measure that would temporarily fund the government until Nov. 17, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was still scrambling to unite the divisions within his party.

“Put your money on me; we’re going to get this done,” McCarthy said in a CNBC interview. “I think we can work through the weekend. I think we can figure this out.”

If a shutdown arrives, millions of federal employees will be furloughed and many others — including those working in the military and the Transportation Security Administration — will be forced to work without pay until it ends.

A handful of federal programs that people nationwide rely on every day could also be disrupted — from dwindling funds for food assistance to potential delays in customer service for recipients of Medicare and Social Security. The ripple effects would come down to how long the shutdown lasts and varying contingency plans in place at impacted agencies.

“Collectively, hundreds of millions of Americans, a majority of the population, are receiving some kind of benefits from the government,” said Forrest V. Morgeson III, an associate professor at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business. He noted a potential shutdown could bring significant financial uncertainty and economic implications down the road.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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