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Some U.S. Government Websites Would Go Dark During Shutdown

Some U.S. agencies plan to place messages on their websites stating content isn’t available in the event of a government shutdown, a Commerce Department official said today.

Among the sites that would be closed are those operated by the Commerce Department, such as the Economics and Statistics Administration, the Economic Development Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said the official, who asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak about the website policy.

A failure by Congress to extend the government’s spending authority, which expires tomorrow, would force the closure of national parks, monuments and museums. Federal agencies that don’t protect lives, property or national security also would be shuttered.

The National Weather Service, which is part of the Commerce Department, will update its website with forecasts and weather warnings if the government closes.

Other parts of the site, including pages that offer information on education and outreach programs not deemed essential won’t be updated, Susan Buchanan, a Weather Service spokeswoman, said in an interview.

Some websites that serve essential functions will continue to operate in the event of a government shutdown even if their costs are funded through appropriations that have lapsed, according to an Obama administration official who asked to remain anonymous because the shutdown is not definite.

One example may be the Internal Revenue Service website, which is necessary to allow for tax filings and tax collection, the official said.

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