Tags: government | shutdown | workforce | leave

US Shutdown Could Put Vast Workforce on Temporary Leave

US Shutdown Could Put Vast Workforce on Temporary Leave
(Khue Bui/AP)

Thursday, 18 January 2018 03:35 PM

Hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats could be sent home if the US government shuts down at midnight Friday, but the military and other crucial functions would continue if previous shutdowns are a guide.

The US government will run out of money unless Congress either approves a 2018 budget or a short-term funding resolution.

Republican leaders were focused Thursday passing a resolution that would continue funding until February 16, allowing more time for negotiations on a 2018 budget.

If the measure passes, it would be the fourth time in as many months that Congress has extended funding on a short term basis.

If Congress falls short of the mark, it would set in motion the fifth government shutdown since 1990.

Federal government departments and agencies would begin putting into effect plans for furloughing non-essential employees. In the last shutdown, in 2013, more than 800,000 government workers were furloughed.

Agencies that protect the environment, make loans to small businesses, or conduct medical research are likely to be shuttered.

National parks and museums like the Smithsonian also would close.

The US military would remain on duty, but its troops risk having their paychecks withheld until funding is restored.

Since military paychecks go out the 1st and 15th of the month, rank and file troops will only be affected if the shutdown last beyond the end of the month.

The Department of the Defense, however, has 742,000 civilian personnel, many of whom could be furloughed if deemed non-essential.

The White House and congressional offices would stay open although with some staff reductions.

The measure would spare other critical functions like law enforcement -- including special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion by Donald Trump's campaign with Russian election meddling.

Air travel is unlikely to be affected, as air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration would keep working.

The US Postal Service has its own independent sources of funding, so it remains open, as does the Federal Reserve.

Americans will continue to receiving their government pension checks, but Social Security offices will close. Hospitals for veterans will remain open.

© AFP 2018

   
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The US government will run out of money unless Congress either approves a 2018 budget or a short-term funding resolution.
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2018-35-18
Thursday, 18 January 2018 03:35 PM
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