Federal Relations

Shutdown: Day One

The federal government shutdown is now in full effect. Initially many federal workers were allowed to go into work this morning to receive furlough notices and implement shutdown plans – cancelling meetings, setting up out-of-office replies on email, and dropping off their Blackberries with IT personnel. And while there are some federal workers who have been deemed “essential personnel” and are lucky enough to be at work, there is no guarantee that they will be paid.

On Capitol Hill, elected officials are still discussing ways to move forward and get government up and running again. The Senate Democratic leadership, with support from the White House, continue to push for a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) to run through November 15th and allow time to come to agreement on how best to fund federal government for FY14. House Republican leadership continue to argue that health care reform delays must be included in any CR in order to get support from a majority of their members.

In a surprise (not) move, House GOP has announced that this afternoon they will bring up for consideration three separate CR bills to continue funding National Park Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as allow the District of Columbia to use its own revenue to keep operating. The bills will not include extraneous policy riders regarding health care reform and would allow some key federal operations to resume while larger negotiations continue surrounding the FY14 funding. All of the mini-CRs would run through December 15th and fund agencies at the same level as proposed under the comprehensive CR that both chambers have been battling over for the past week and a half.

Senate Democrats have already indicated that they will not support the GOP’s piecemeal approach.