Every single government department and agency — from the U.S. Postal Service to the Department of Education to the Environmental Protection Agency to NASA — have been bracing for the immediate effects of a government shutdown after Democrats and Republicans failed to reach a deal on how to fund the government.
According to government estimates, 800,000 of the more than 2 million federal workers could be furloughed during the shutdown, and the offices that employ them have released contingency plans noting how many employees would be forced to stay home and how many would be “excepted.”
Many of the memos indicate that federal officials were preparing for — and likely hoping for — a relatively short shutdown. The plan released by the Department of Justice, for example, assumes a five-day funding hiatus.
“Depending upon the actual duration of the shutdown,” the planning document notes, “the Department may need to revisit the plan and submit an amended version.”
All of the documents are posted on the Office of Management and Budget’s website.
ABC News has put together a list of key departments and agencies. Where possible we note the number and percentage of employees from each that would be furloughed:
Total Employees: 46,420
Number Furloughed: 40,234
% Furloughed: 87
The Commerce Department is an umbrella agency that deals with a diverse array of topics ranging from the Census to the National Weather Service. In the event of a government shutdown, the divisions facing the brunt of the Commerce Department’s contingency plans are those dealing with business and economics. The Economic Development Administration, International Trade Administration and Census Bureau are three such sub-agencies whose services will not be available if a government shutdown occurs. On the other hand, activities such as weather forecasting, fishery management, and patent and trademark application processing will not be affected. All told, the DOC would need to furlough 40,234 of its 46,420 employees, leaving only 13 percent of its workforce in the office.
— Alexander Lazar
Military members will show up for word during the shutdown and get paid when Congress pushes through the appropriations bill. About half the DOD civilians will also show up for work and get the retroactive payments when Congress passes the appropriations bill. The other half of the civilian workforce will be furloughed and receive no pay. However, historically during previous shutdowns the Congress has passed legislation that pays these employees retroactively.
Total Employees: 4,225
Number Furloughed: 3,983
% Furloughed: 94
One of the departments hit the hardest in the case of a shutdown would be Education, with 94 percent of the 4,225 full and part-time employees set to be furloughed. With many school districts receiving more than 20 percent of their funds from Department-funded programs, education grants would be affected, as would a number of disability and disadvantaged student programs funded by Higher Education funds.
Total Employees: 13,814
Number Furloughed: 9,595
% Furloughed: 69.46
According to the Department of Energy’s contingency plan released on Friday, “If a Departmental element does not have functions related to the safety of human life and the protection of property, all functions performed by that element will close if there is a lapse in appropriations.” That means that, of DOE’s 13,814 total employees, 69 percent (or 9,595 government workers) are expected to be furloughed. Of the non-furloughed, 1,113 are excepted employees under various conditions, and 3,106 are paid through other means and thus not affected by a shutdown. However, all Presidentially Appointed, Senate-Confirmed employees will continue to come to work.
Total Employees: 16,205
Number Furloughed: 15,592
% Furloughed: 96.15
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy recently told the Associated Press that the agency would “effectively shut down” if the federal government shuts down. According to the AP: “[The] agency won’t be able to pay employees. She says only a core group of people will remain on duty in case the EPA has to respond to a ‘significant emergency.’ The vast majority of employees will stay home. That means that most of EPA’s functions, like drafting regulations and enforcing laws to protect the environment, will likely remain stalled until government operations fully resume.” The agency’s contingency plan released last week, revealed the exact number of employees that would staff the large agency in the event of a shutdown. According to the document, just 613 employees would remain on staff at the EPA. The agency normally employees 16,205 workers, but in the event of a government shutdown, would be forced to furlough approximately 96.15% of its staff.
For the nation’s highest court, business will continue as per usual if a shutdown occurs–at least until Friday, October 4. According to a notice posted on the Supreme Court website, “In the event of a lapse of appropriations, the Court will continue to conduct its normal operations through October 4. The Court building will be open to the public during its usual hours. Further notice will be provided in the event a lapse of appropriations continues beyond October 4.” Interestingly, the Court is scheduled to hear the first arguments of the new term the following Monday, on October 7.
–Ariane De Vogue
Total Employees: 78,198
Number Furloughed: 40,512
% Furloughed: 52
More than half of the Department of Health and Human Service’s workforce (52% or 40,512 people) would be furloughed as a result of a government shutdown. Crucial agencies within HHS such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health will still be operating, but only on a minimal basis. For example, NIH would not be able to accept new patients unless they are labeled as “medically necessary,” and the CDC would not be able to lend support to the seasonal influenza program. Also of potential concern is that food safety and nutrition activities would not be supported by the Food and Drug Administration during a shutdown.
Total Employees: 231,117
Number Furloughed: 31,295
% Furloughed: 13.5
The Department of Homeland Security, which employees 231,117 people (including 41,364 USCG military personnel) would cut it’s employees by 13.5%, in the event of a government. That’s a grand total of 31,295 workers that would be furloughed if Congress does not come to a compromise on a government funding bill by midnight tonight, according to the DHS contingency plan released last week. Although a majority of the agency would remain open in the event of a shutdown, notable services and programs at the agency would be closed including: Research and development including improved passenger screening equipment, emergency responder technology and other key investments in homeland security tools; All non-disaster grants programs administered by FEMA and other DHS Components (including state and local preparedness grants); Secret Service authority to continue use of proceeds from and as part of undercover investigations; and federal, state, and local law enforcement civil rights and civil liberties training.
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
In the instance of the government shutdown, five offices at the Department of Housing and Urban Development would be closed. These include the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Departmental Equal Employment Opportunity, and Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Other offices, while still operating, will see deep cuts to the number of current staff. For example, the Office of Housing will see its number of employees reduced from 2,972 to 68, and the number of employees at the office of Public and Indian Housing will be reduced from 1,401 to 32.
Total Employees: 72,562
Number Furloughed: 58,765
% Furloughed: 81
Following a one-week period of shutdown implementation, the Department of the Interior would have to furlough nearly 81 percent of its 72,562-person workforce. They would close all areas belonging to the National Park and National Wildlife Refuge Systems and restrict visitors’ access. The U.S. Geological Survey would also be forced to halt work. Of the roughly 14,000 employees who would continue work, 7,707 “would be excepted from furlough in order to protect life and property.” The other exempted employees (numbering 6,306) are “funded through non-lapsing fund sources.”
–Joan E. Greve
Total Employees: 114,486
Number Furloughed: 96,744
% Furloughed: 84.5
The DOJ has released a summary of its contingency plan in case of government shutdown. Under DOJ’s plan, nearly 85% of the the department’s workforce will stay on the job. The plan states, “Criminal litigation will continue without interruption as an activity essential to the safety of human life and the protection of property. Civil litigation will be curtailed or postponed to the extent that this can be done without compromising to a significant degree the safety of human life or the protection of property. Litigators will need to approach the courts and request that active cases … be postponed until funding is available.” The agency’s plan also warns that, “the law enforcement capacity of the U.S. Government should not be impaired or perceived to be impaired. To do so could constitute an imminent threat to the safety of human life and the protection of property.” The agency is currently comprised of 114,486 employees and plans to keep employing 96,744 workers during a shutdown.
Total Employees: 16,304
Number Furloughed: 13,350
% Furloughed: 82
Just as with other government agencies, among the Department of Labor’s various offices and sub agencies, some will definitely have lucked out whereas will be negatively impacted by a government shutdown. The Employee Benefits Security Administration, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration will still be active in some areas under their purviews. However, the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Employee Compensation Review Board, and the Veterans Employment and Training Administration will be three such offices that DOL has decided will be closed for business. Overall, of the Department of Labor’s 16,304 employees, only 2,954 would continue to work in the event of a shutdown (roughly 18 percent of their workforce). However, specific bureaus within the department would be more negatively impacted, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where employment numbers would decrease from 2,409 to just 3.
According to a shutdown plan posted on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration web page, a government shutdown would lead to a loss of access to NASA experts, facilities, and operations to the public. NASA notes that in the event of a government shutdown, it will be forced to stop educational support, meaning NASA instructors will not be working in schools, public access to NASA centers and facilities, and citizens will not be able to access televised NASA operations and programming or the agency’s website. The agency does have a plan in place to keep its essential work going throughout a government shutdown, by continuing to employee all full time personnel, people whose presence is required each day, intermittently required individuals, individuals whose presence is required for the duration, of specific named activities, and on-call personnel, individuals who may be required to work (at home or in the office) to respond to emergency needs.
Total Employees: 2,000
Number Furloughed: 1,970
% Furloughed: 98.5
Currently, the National Science Foundation has a staff of approximately 2,000 employees. If a government shutdown were to occur, the NSF would retain just 30 federal employees. A portion of those 30 employees would come from the NSF’s Division of Polar Programs’ support of the Antarctic and Arctic programs. According to the NSF’s newly released contingency plan, these Antarctic and Arctic programs are “excepted activity in order to maintain communications with individuals ‘on the ice’ to assist in responding to emergency situations that might arise.”
The Peace Corps determined that there would be too many “significant tangible and intangible costs” incurred in evacuating all their volunteers overseas and returning them to their homes. In addition, evacuating its volunteers would only provide minimal savings in operating costs. Therefore, the only justifiable reason for such action would be if “a much more substantial lapse in appropriations” occurs then the agency expects. The cost of bringing one volunteer home from overseas would be about 3,500 dollars. In total, the Peace Corps predicted that bringing all of its members home would cost the US government a grand total of 29 million dollars.
Total Employees: 4,202
Number Furloughed: 3,514
% Furloughed: 83.6
Currently the Smithsonian employees 4, 202 employees, in the event of a government shutdown, the world’s largest museums and research complex will cut that number down to just 688 employees. Sadly, the Smithsonian Institute will not be able to keep its doors open to the public if Congress is unable to pass a funding bill. According to the institute’s contingency plan, “in the event of a shutdown, a notice will be posted at each public entrance to museum buildings and research centers to inform the visiting public of (the museums) closure.” One of the most beloved Smithsonian’s, the National Zoo, will be able to continue some operations even if the government shuts down, personnel will be staffed to care for and feed the ‘live collections at the National Zoo.”
Entities under the State Department are slated to continue operating until appropriated funds run out, with some but not all expiration dates ranging in the one and two-year marks. U.S. applications for passports and foreign requests for visas will continue to be processed as usual, as they are both fund-supported services. But passport agencies located in a government building may be unsupported in the case of a shutdown.
Total Employees: 55,468
Number Furloughed: 36,987
% Furloughed: 67
In a statement the Department of Transportation released with their contingency plan, they wrote, “There is no question that a shutdown will hurt our ability to move forward with much-needed transportation projects and in turn, will hurt the millions of Americans that count on them to get where they need to go faster and more efficiently.” But the DOT would not experience furlough cuts as severe as some other departments. Of its 55,468 employees, nearly 67 percent (or 36,987) would continue to work in the event of a shutdown, while 18,481 would be furloughed.
Total Employees: 1,976
Number Furloughed: 997
% Furloughed: 50
A government shutdown won’t stop the Treasury from paying the federal debt interest, nor will it halt the daily management of government assets and Social Security funds. But many entities of the IRS, which functions within the Department, such as audits and the processing and examinations of returns, would be forced to cease.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE
The United States Postal Service, will remain open and operational during a government shutdown. The agency, not unfamiliar with budget woes, is exempt from the federal government shutdown because it does not receive it’s budget from annual appropriations from Congress. According to USA Today, all federal agencies that do not receive their operating budgets from annual congressional appropriations “will continue to operate normally.” In addition to the USPS, the Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Highway Administration will remain operational.
Total Employees: 332,025
Number Furloughed: 14,224
% Furloughed: 5
The Department of Veteran Affairs has been working to establish a number of legally excepted functions, including the provision of high-quality medical care, compensation and pension benefits, housing, and burial services. Thus, the department projects that out of the 332,025 employees, only approximately five percent, or 14,224 workers, will be furloughed. No functions of the Veterans Health Administration will be suspended. Functions not deemed necessary to protection of life and property, and therefore not excepted, include the National Veterans Awareness Campaign, the department’s congressional relations, and the US Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims.
- In Government Shutdown, Civil Litigation Takes Hit (legaltimes.typepad.com)
- Shutdown would mean furloughs, fewer services, and closed museums and parks (kansascity.com)
- Workers in St. Louis region brace for government shutdown (stltoday.com)
- Furloughed may lose BlackBerrys (politico.com)
- Goodbye, government? Shutdown would affect science, the environment, and health (theverge.com)
- Your Government Shutdown Survival Guide (on.aol.com)
- Beebe: Significant state cuts, furloughs ahead if shutdown not averted (arkansasonline.com)
- Government shutdown bilks taxpayers (tv.msnbc.com)
- Government shutdown 2013: What would a shutdown look like? (wjla.com)
- What Exactly Could Happen When the Gov’t ‘Shuts Down’? Here’s a Quick Guide (theblaze.com)