Even though relatively short in duration, the three-day partial government shutdown lasted long enough to highlight differences among agencies regarding which employees would be kept at work and which furloughed, driven by both policy and funding issues.

Some agencies were unaffected because they are self-funding. These included for example the Thrift Savings Plan, which operates mainly on administrative fees it charges account holders. However, the shutdown underscored that segments of some other agencies also are self-funding, such as DoD “working capital fund” and “nonappropriated fund” operations.


Also, among agencies that do depend on funding from Congress, some have multi-year or advanced appropriations that enabled them to keep operating–the VA’s Veterans Health Administration being the largest example in terms of employment.

Further, in a departure from the most recent prior shutdown, several agencies announced that they would use carry-forward funding – essentially, budgetary leftovers – to remain open even though their regular appropriations had lapsed. These included the EPA and the FCC, both of which remained fully open and said they could remain open for about a week.

Additionally, the National Park Service this time kept many of its parks and other lands at least partially open, although offering few services beyond basic law enforcement.