WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA may have the Right Stuff, but it's not essential.
Of all the larger government agencies, NASA is sending the largest percentage home in the government shutdown because their employees are considered not essential. Only 3 percent of NASA workers are still on the job.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Veterans Administration has 95 percent of its employees still working.
Experts say in a city where being essential is considered as fundamental as breathing, the essential workers number is the real indicator of importance — politically and otherwise.
About 60 percent of the 2.1 million federal employees are working during the shutdown.
The Homeland Security and Justice departments have high essential numbers. The Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development and Internal Revenue Service have low ones.