Since Congress and the Administration were not able to come to a deal on funding the Federal government before midnight on Dec. 21, we are now in a partial government shutdown.
The reason it is only a partial shutdown is that Congress was able to pass five of the 12 bills before the original Sept. 30 deadline. Agencies of interest to ABA members that are currently shutdown include the Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Interior.
Department of Transportation:
According to the Department of Transportation shutdown plan, about two-thirds of the department’s 50,000+ employees would remain on the job.
The Federal Highway Administration operations continue as normal during a lapse in annual appropriations. Highway Trust Fund operations would continue during a lapse in annual appropriations.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will have enough funding to continue operations and not have to furlough any staff.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will have to furlough 331 staff out of their workforce of 584. Work developing rules for self-driving cars, investigations of vehicle safety defects, crash testing, enforcement efforts and some additional research projects would be halted.
Department of Homeland Security:
According to the Department of Homeland Security shutdown plan, less than 10 percent of the Department’s workforce would face furlough. However, funding for the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP) comes from the Department of Homeland Security budget. As with delayed funding in year’s past, it is likely that the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the IBSGP will be delayed, and the application timeline will be condensed. Since the Department of Homeland Security bill was never finished, the level of funding for the IBSGP has not yet been determined.
Department of the Interior:
The National Parks are funded through the Department of Interior and will have some interruption of service during a partial government shutdown. According to the National Park Service shutdown plan, most of their employees would face furlough during a shutdown. During the last shutdown, many national parks remained open to visitors but had limited staff and various facilities, including restrooms, were closed. It is expected that similar disruption of services will occur during this shutdown.
Additionally, the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo would likely be closed to the public.
It is unknown how long the shutdown will last, but the ABA Government Affairs and Policy team will continue to update our members on important developments.