Federal Agencies Work Contingency Plans As Trump Shutdown Continues

Over 100 agencies are operating under contingency plans posted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in response to the government shutdown that began on 22 December 2018.

Civilian employees at agencies overseen by every member of Trump’s Cabinet and at the White House are affected. Federal vendors and contract employees are also drawn into the imbroglio with pay conditions and services worsening for all as current funds are expended.

The partial shutdown commenced after the Republican-held Congress was unable to meet Trump’s demands for his ever-changing border wall.

Contingency plans vary in their detail. For example, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, responsible for safeguarding nuclear reactors, is an extensive report that details every step of the process from notifying employees and contractors to interacting with Congress. It explains the duties and responsibilities of NRC officials during a stop in appropriations and adds guidance for the Antideficiency Act, a law that governs operations during a shutdown.

On the other hand, Monica Block, who holds three titles including the Acting Director of the Office of Administration, tendered a short letter to Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Chief of Staff and OMB Director, regarding the Executive Office of the President. This agency is working on a skeleton crew with over 1,000 employees furloughed, representing over sixty percent of its employees.

Most legal disputes involving a mining mishap will likely be suspended as long as the shutdown continues. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Committee has furloughed all but 13 of its 68 staff, and only disputes involving a mine emergency or affecting the public health and safety will be litigated.

Safety and protection are two keywords found in the contingency plans with these priorities funded. Various designations related to employment status also indicate whether someone gets paid. Presidential appointees and the military along with personnel deemed essential or exempted will all receive a paycheck during the shutdown. Most contingency plans anticipate a lapse in funding that lasts up to a month.

Trump’s threat to keep the government partially closed for months or even years is likely not provided for in those contingency plans.

Dated Contingency Plans for Affected Agencies

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