Saturday morning update: A partial government shutdown kicked in at midnight on Friday following a breakdown in the federal budgeting process over funding for a Southern border wall.
Many large agencies and departments already have funding but reportedly some 400,000 federal employees could be sent home without pay pending a resolution.
Departments and agencies with funding include DoD, VA, Energy, Labor, Education, most of HHS, SSA, and many smaller agencies also funded by the five appropriations bills already enacted for those departments.
Agencies funded by the other seven appropriations bills have now lapsed with some national parks and monuments closed as of Saturday morning and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice and the IRS and SEC among others enacting contingency plans.
Some functions will continue while others won’t and “non-excepted” personnel are on furlough.
Under long-standing policies, employees of affected agencies fall into one of three categories:
– “exempt” because operating money is available from other sources;
– “excepted” because even though a needed appropriation has lapsed they are kept at work for security, law enforcement, health or other reasons; and
– “non-excepted,” who are put on unpaid furloughs.
Exempt agencies for example include the Thrift Savings Plan, which operates mainly on administrative fees it charges account holders, and the Postal Service, which operates on revenue from postage and other charges for goods and services. Also, there are self-funding parts of some agencies that otherwise operate on appropriated money.
Even some functions normally funded by appropriations might be able to continue to operate—at least partially and at least for a short time—by tapping into trust funds, multi-year appropriations and other special accounts.
Agency contingency plans, posted on the OMB site, describe work deemed excepted; some of those plans go into much less detail than others, however.
More about Federal Government Furlough Rules at ask.FEDweek.com
The House on Thursday passed a measure extending through February 8 funding for agencies that do not yet have full-year appropriations for the current fiscal year, in the process adding more than $5 billion for border wall construction at the insistence of President Trump.
The previous day, the Senate had passed a measure through the same date without such funding, and Senate Democrats say they are adamant that they will not vote in favor of a bill containing those funds. Approval of at least some Democrats is necessary to get the measure through Congress and the impasse continues.
Raise not included but still possible
Neither version of the temporary funding measure provides for a federal pay raise in January.
Now the most likely prospect for getting a raise enacted would be for the new Congress—under Democratic control in the House—to approve a raise, almost certainly 1.9 percent, and have it apply retroactively.