Impact of a government shutdown

 A government shutdown this week would interrupt some services and potentially jeopardize the paychecks of more than 800,000 federal workers. The Office of Management and Budget has asked agencies to begin making contingency plans. Their first stop will be their plans from 2011. The federal government does not stop functioning completely, and by law, certain agencies must operate with unsalaried employees. They include those that deal with national security and the safety of people and property, as well as those that manage benefits such as Social Security payments. The U.S. Postal Service will also be unaffected by a shutdown. Here’s what some agencies have said about their plans this time around.

Department of Agriculture

Overall impact

Inspections of meat and poultry will continue, and workers including firefighters will remain on the job. The agency will halt its production of statistical reports on crop estimates and sales widely used in the agricultural market.

Impact on workers

The USDA hasn’t said precisely how many of its 100,000 workers will be furloughed.

At the Food Safety and Inspection Service, 8,407 of the 9,633 employees will remain on duty – though those numbers could change if the shutdown lasts longer than two days. Some workers, such 528 of the 743 at the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, will remain unaffected, since their salaries are funded by user fees, not federal money.

Department of Commerce

commerce

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

46,420

6,186

40,234

Overall impact

The department includes agencies such as the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, as well as various economic development offices — all of which will be closed.

Impact on workers

Of the Commerce Department’s 46,420 employees, 40,234 will be furloughed.

The bulk of the non-furloughed employees are at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where 5,368 of the agency’s 12,001 workers will remain on the job preparing weather, shipping and other reports important for public safety and the economy. The Patent and Trademark Office, because of the fees it collects, has enough independent funding to remain open for four weeks – but would close as well in any extended government shutdown. The Bureau of Industry and Security, responsible for reviewing exports under U.S. national security laws, will keep 150 employees – nearly half its workforce – on duty.

Federal courts

Overall impact

According to Judge John D. Bates, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, federal courts can continue to operate for approximately two weeks with reserve funds.

Impact on workers

After the reserve funds are depleted, only essential employees will continue to work. Each court has flexibility in determining which employees are essential — other than judges, who will work.

Department of Defense

Overall impact

The Defense Department will continue to conduct military operations and training exercises.

Impact on workers

The roughly 1.4 million active-duty uniformed military personnel will stay on the job. Of the department’s 800,000 civilian workers, about half will be furloughed. Those deemed essential because they are critical to safety missions, or are actively participating in or supporting a military operation, will continue to work.

All active duty and civilian employees will receive a paycheck on Oct. 1, because that money was appropriated during the fiscal year that ends that day. They won’t be paid on Oct. 15 if the government shuts down and no new money is appropriated by that date.

Department of Education

education

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

4,225

242

3,983

Overall impact

The department will still distribute $22 billion to public schools that is normally obligated on Oct. 1. This represents the second half of 2013 funding already appropriated by Congress to help educate poor and disabled K-12 students and to fund career and technical education programs. This funding does not require further congressional authorization.

Impact on workers

If the shutdown lasts a week, approximately 212 of the department’s 4,225 full- and part-time employees will be working. An additional 30 employees may be called to work if the shutdown lasts longer than a week.

Pell Grants and Federal Direct Loans will continue to be processed, although payments may slow if there are fewer employees to handle them. Other grant programs that use previously appropriated dollars will continue, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods.

Department of Energy

energy

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

13,814

5,343

8,471

Overall impact

Most of the Department of Energy’s activities will cease during the shutdown, with big exceptions for the office overseeing the safety of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and the administrators in charge of dams and transmission lines around the country.

Impact on workers

The Department of Energy has 13,814 employees. During a shutdown, all but 1,113 will be sent home, according to a contingency plan the agency recently posted on its Web site.

Some 343 employees will stay to work at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons and naval reactor programs. And more than 400 employees will keep working at the Southwestern Power Administration and the Western Area Power Administration, which are in charge of overseeing hydroelectric power and transmission lines in the South and the West. The agency will also keep on a few employees in each of its dozens of offices, mainly to oversee “the protection of human life and property.”

Environmental Protection Agency

epa

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

16,205

1,024

15,181

Overall impact

On Monday, Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said her department will all but close in the event of a government shutdown. “EPA effectively shuts down, with only a core group that are there in the event of an emergency,” McCarthy told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Impact on workers

Pressed on the number of people who will be furloughed, McCarthy offered no specifics but said that the “vast majority of people” will not be paid if there is no government budget.

McCarthy said the EPA will retain enough workers to “keep the lights on and respond in the event of a significant emergency.”

The Federal Reserve

federal-reserve

Overall impact

The Federal Reserve is self-funded and will remain open and operational.

Impact on workers

No impact.

Department of Health and Human Services

hhs

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

78,198

37,686

40,512

Overall impact

The Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that a government shutdown could mean furloughing 40,512 workers, while retaining 37,686.

Impact on workers

While the agency will be sending home more than half of its workers, the lack of funding will not affect various offices equally. For instance, the department said “grant-making and employee-intensive agencies” such as the Administration for Children and Families and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will have to furlough “the vast majority of their staff.”

Many parts of the agency will linger in a state between full functioning and total shutdown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue “minimal support to protect the health and well-being of U.S. citizens,” but it will have a “significantly reduced capacity” to respond to outbreaks and will be unable to support its annual flu program.

Department of Homeland Security

dhs

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

231,117

199,822

31,295

Overall impact

The vast majority of Department of Homeland Security employees will continue to work under a shutdown because their functions “must be maintained under all circumstances to ensure the safety and security of the nation and its citizens,” or because their jobs are not funded by congressional appropriations, according to the agency’s 2013 contingency plan.

Impact on workers

The DHS shutdown plan designates about 86 percent of the department’s roughly 231,000 employees as “essential,” meaning they will remain on the job for the “safety of human life or protection of property.” Some of those workers will also be part of an “emergency relocation group” that responds to possible emergency situations.

Among DHS components, the Transportation Security Administration, which handles airport screenings, will retain about 93 percent of its workforce, while about 78 percent of Federal Emergency Management Agency and 88 percent of both Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection employees will remain on the job. Topping the list with the highest percentage is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, at 97 percent, followed by the Secret Service, with 92 percent.

Federal Transit Administration

Overall impact

According to a letter to employees from FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, no grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, purchase orders, travel authorizations or other documents obligating funds will be made to any of the agency’s 1,300 grantees.

Impact on workers

About 95 percent of the FTA’s workers will be furloughed. Remaining staffs will be limited to four people who will handle shutdown and startup activities as well as emergency needs.

A small number of staff members who are paid via emergency legislation tied to the post-Sept. 11, 2001, recovery of Lower Manhanttan or for recovery work related to Hurricane Sandy will also remain on the job. Their work will be limited to oversight of already awarded recovery funding.

Food and Drug Administration

fda

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

14,800

8,180

6,620

Overall impact

The FDA will continue “limited activities” in programs that are funded through industry user fees and will continue “select vital activities” such as handling high-risk recalls of tainted food or drugs. Officials said the FDA will be unable to keep up the majority of its food-safety, nutrition and cosmetics oversight.

Impact on workers

The agency will be forced to furlough 6,620 workers, or about 45 percent of its 14,779-person workforce.

The agency will have to cease routine inspections, monitoring of imports and “the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.”

Department of Housing and Urban Development

hud

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

8,709

349

8,360

Overall impact

The agency’s contingency plan says that just 379 of 8,709 employees will be expected to work during a shutdown.

Impact on workers

The vast majority of HUD’s agencies will be staffed by skeleton crews, with the exception of Ginne Mae, the mortgage-guarantee agency, where 43 of 108 employees will be expected to report to work. While Ginne Mae and many of the department’s homelessness programs will continue to operate, many other functions will be suspended.

HUD will not provide local housing authorities with additional money for choice housing vouchers. Meanwhile, the nation’s 3,300 public housing authorities would not receive payments from HUD, although most of those agencies have enough money to continue providing tenant rental assistance through October.

Department of the Interior

interior

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

72,562

13,797

58,765

Overall impact

The Department of the Interior oversees the nation’s parks, wildlife and a host of issues focused on protecting the country’s “natural resources and heritage.” During a partial shutdown, it will operate with a significantly smaller workforce, and national parks will be closed to the public. Agencies under its authority include the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Land Management, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

Impact on workers

The Department of the Interior has 72,562 employees. More than 58,000 will face furloughs, and those remaining on the job as exempted workers (6,306) have mostly law enforcement and security-related duties.

Department of Justice

justice

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

114,486

96,744

17,742

Overall impact

The Department of Justice comprises about 40 divisions that have a broad array of national security, law enforcement and criminal justice responsibilities. Because of that, a high percentage of the department’s activities and employees are excepted from a government shutdown.

Impact on workers

Of 114,486 employees, an estimated 96,744 will be excepted from furloughs under the Justice Department’s plan. Approximately 17,742 employees will be subject to possible furloughs.

All Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and support personnel in the field are exempt from furloughs because FBI operations are focused on national security and investigations involving protection of life and property. All agents in the Drug Enforcement Administration field organization are exempt from furloughs because they are working on active counternarcotics investigations. All agents in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also exempt, as are U.S. attorneys across the country, all staff members at federal prisons, and the chairman and commissioners of the U.S. Parole Commission.

Department of Labor

labor

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

16,304

2,954

13,350

Overall impact

During a shutdown, a majority of the Department of Labor’s employees will be furloughed.

Impact on workers

Of the 16,304 employees at the agency, only 2,954 will be expected to work.

Those furloughed include employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Employment and Training Administration.

NASA

nasa

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

18,250

549

17,701

Overall impact

In a shutdown, NASA employees will be furloughed unless specifically instructed that their jobs are exempted. Among the agency functions that will continue are those involving the safe operation of satellites and the international space station, and “other activities involving protection of life and property,” according to the agency Web site. NASA also will continue research activities in cases in which suspending the research would do “serious damage to property.”

Impact on workers

An internal memo states that NASA will “narrowly construe the available exceptions in determining which activities can continue.” The agency has 18,250 employees across the country, and the shutdown contingency plan indicates that 549 will be exempted from furloughs.

National Institutes of Health

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

18,646

4,948

13,698

Overall impact

The NIH will not take any actions on grant applications or awards, but will continue to allow grantees with existing grants to draw on their funds and will accept new online grant applications (which will be stored and processed later). The NIH Clinical Center will continue to provide direct medical services and maintain research protocols for current patients but will not admit new patients or initiate new clinical trials.

Impact on workers

Under the 2013 plan, 2,564 NIH staff members will be excepted for the provision of patient care, 734 to protect property related to ongoing medical experiments, 568 for maintenance of animals and protection of inanimate government property, and 212 to maintain computerized systems to support research and clinical patient care.

United States Postal Service

Overall impact

The U.S. Postal Service, which is a self-funded agency, will remain open, and mail delivery will continue as usual.

Impact on workers

No impact.

Small Business Administration

sba

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

3,516

2,187

1,329

Overall impact

The agency will shut down nearly all its operations, including processing for most of its lending programs, which guarantee tens of billions of dollars in lending to small and new businesses every year.

Impact on workers

The SBA will have to furlough more than 2,100 employees, nearly two-thirds of its workforce, according to the agency’s contingency plan. Nearly all of the exempt employees work in the agency’s Office of Disaster Assistance, which will remain open during the shutdown.

The agency’s existing loan guarantees will remain in effect during the shutdown, but the SBA will not be able to approve new applications until lawmakers hash out a plan to reopen the government. In addition, the SBA will have to temporarily shutter programs designed to help small firms export internationally, obtain government contracts and secure start-up financing.

Securities and Exchange Commission

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

3,797

332

3,465

Overall impact

The Securities and Exchange Commission will not be immediately affected by a government shutdown. It plans to use funds carried over from the previous year to cover its operations.

Impact on workers

No immediate impact.

“We have determined that our carryover balances are sufficient to allow us to remain open for a few weeks if there is a lapse of appropriations,” John Nester, the SEC’s spokesman, said in a statement. The SEC is one of the few financial regulators that must have its appropriations approved by Congress. But the appropriations language provides that its funds “remain available until expended,” Nester said. Should the extra money be exhausted and a shutdown continue, the SEC would be affected. The filings the agency receives from corporations – everything from financial reports to initial public offerings – would still be automatically published on the agency’s Web site. But the staff would not be able to review the information or provide interpretive advice.

Smithsonian

smithsonian

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

4,202

688

3,514

Overall impact

Essentially, all Smithsonian institutions, museums and zoos will be closed every day the shutdown is in effect.

Impact on workers

“The only federal employees that can work are the exempted or previously approved, which includes security, maintenance and the zoo employees that are responsible for the care of the animals,” spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said.

Department of State

state

Overall impact

The State Department, which receives funding in the annual State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, will be able to operate for a limited time.

Impact on workers

Activities carried out by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, both domestically and abroad, are fee-funded and will continue. The department will continue passport operations and visa issuance overseas.

Some passport offices are located in federal buildings that may be forced to shut down during a lapse in appropriations because of a lack of building support services. Embassies and consulates overseas will continue to provide American citizen services.

Supreme Court

Overall impact

A government shutdown is not likely to affect the Supreme Court, at least immediately, as the court’s new term is scheduled to start Oct. 7. The court has made no official announcement, but it continued to operate during previous shutdowns.

Impact on workers

Not available.

Department of Transportation

transportation

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

55,468

36,987

18,481

Overall impact

Air travel should continue as normal because federal air-traffic controllers will remain on the job.

Impact on workers

According to the department’s 2013 contingency plan, 18,481 of its 55,468 employees will be furloughed.

At the Federal Aviation Administration, 15,514 people whose jobs don’t involve the air-traffic-control system will face furloughs. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will furlough 382 of the 501 people who work in his office, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will furlough 333 of 597 workers, and the Federal Transit Administration will furlough 501 of 529 employees.

Department of the Treasury

treasury

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

1,976

979

997

Overall impact

The Treasury Department will continue disbursements of Social Security funds, automated revenue collections and the work of daily cash management for the government, in addition to paying interest on the federal debt. But the department’s largest component, the Internal Revenue Service, will cease some of its key functions such as audits, examinations of returns, processing of paper returns and call-center operations for taxpayers with questions.

Impact on workers

About 88 percent of the 110,000 employees working for Treasury Department agencies will be placed on furlough, including nearly 90 percent of the IRS workforce. About 8,800 of the IRS’s 95,000 employees will remain at work for “excepted” roles such as law enforcement — considered necessary to protect life and property — or because their positions are paid for by funds outside of congressional appropriations, among other reasons. Most headquarters and administrative employees will be furloughed, according to the agency’s contingency plan.

Department of Veterans Affairs

va

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

332,025

316,738

14,224

Overall impact

Medical services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs will not be affected by a shutdown. Benefits programs will probably be affected. VA’s regional offices handling disability claims will have limited services, and the Veterans Benefits Administration will be unable to process education and rehabilitation benefits. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals will be unable to hold hearings.

Impact on workers

VA projects that 95 percent of its 332,000 employees are exempt from furloughs, including the 289,000 who work for the Veterans Health Administration.

The department estimates that 14,224 of its employees face furloughs, including more than 7,200 who work for the Veterans Benefits Administration, 3,200 IT workers and more than 1,000 who work for the National Cemetery Administration.

The White House

Total
employees

Expected
to work

Furloughed

1,701

436

1,265

Overall impact

About three-quarters of White House employees will be furloughed, maintaining minimal staffing for the president so he can carry out constitutional duties.

Impact on workers

Some 436 employees will be designated as exempt, and the remaining 1,265 will be furloughed.

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