With just two more working days after today (Wednesday) before spending authority for most agencies lapses, political leaders still have not laid out a firm plan to prevent a partial government shutdown.
A “continuing resolution” funding most agencies–apart from the VA and military construction accounts, which have full-year funding–is set to expire at midnight Friday.
For now, budget leaders both in the administration and on Capitol Hill continue to say that they do not expect a partial shutdown of the sort that last occurred in October 2013. However, shutdown warnings from other quarters increase in frequency and urgency as the time frame gets shorter, and in a routine step OMB has told agencies to review their shutdown “contingency plans,” most of which were last updated in 2015.
Those plans describe which employees would be put on unpaid furlough and which would be kept on the job, working unpaid for the meantime. In addition, some agencies–the U.S. Postal Service being the prime example–or parts of agencies are exempt from a shutdown because they are funded through sources other than regular appropriations.
In the 2013 partial shutdown, all but about 800,000 employees from a federal workforce of 2.1 million apart from USPS were kept on the job because their work is deemed crucial to national security, public health and safety, or other vital interests.