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Government shutdown ‘likely’ — what questions do you have?

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Get ready for a government shutdown.

Politico reports today that a high-ranking aide to Rep. Nancy Pelosi told Democratic chiefs of staff that a shutdown “is more likely than not.” The government’s continuing resolution is set to expire March 4, and the odds of a budget deal being struck by then are very slim.

All of us at Federal Times are now digging into the details of how this shutdown is going to be implemented, and we’re trying to hit as many angles as possible. We’d like to find out what’s on your mind to help us guide our coverage.

Send any questions regarding the shutdown and how it will affect you and your agency to slosey@federaltimes.com. Also, keep us posted on what’s going on in your agency. We’d like to see any announcements or memos agency officials send to government employees regarding the shutdown and its effects.

Check back in with www.federaltimes.com throughout the week for updates on the shutdown preparations.



  1. Marty Mathiesen Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    What “essential” services will need to be continued and will those employees doing them get paid?

  2. Meghan Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Our official pay day for pay period 4 is 3/10 but many people have their checks already deposited in their bank accounts by the Saturday before (which is 3/5). If we shut down, will we still get checks for pp4? A furlough would be terrible for many of us. I’ve been with the government two years and quite frankly, have barely been able to make it (I took a pay cut initially and have a mortgage, student loan payments, et cetera). Not getting the 3/24 check would be bad but not getting the 3/10 one as well would be BAD. More information on pay (this particular question as well as back-pay and pay for “essential employees”) would be helpful. Thanks

  3. A Concerned Fed Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Will agencies such as DOJ / ATF continue to conduct their inspections at Federal Firearms Licensees’ locations or will they become furloughed as well?

  4. Al Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Where is a good place to go on vacation. Since the congress cannot get it right, if we are furloughed, I will go on vacation.

  5. robert schertz Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    how is social security affected

  6. Peter Griffin Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I am a nurse at the VA. If the gov’t shuts down, will I still get paid?

  7. Tom O'Donnell Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    What happens with our benefits – healthcare, leave, etc.

  8. Andrew Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Well, at least the Federal spending will be cut one way or another (for now at least)

  9. Von Hawk Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Does shut down of SSA means no monthly checks?

    Is the money to senior thus lost recouped WITH

    At what point in time?

    Are Social Security Recipients thus damaged by the
    shutdown? By how much? The amount of monthly
    entitlement money with-held or the amount of their
    overall damages related to the disruption of the
    monthly cash flow? Please advise.

  10. Finserra Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – Santayana


    There is guidance from OMB, OPM, and the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel that broadly defines which workers can continue to work. Specific application is left to the agencies in their shut-down plans. Employees whose salaries can be paid with funds other than those made available through the current continuing resolution are exempt from the whole shut-down process. A certain number of employees will be kept on for a very brief period of time to effectuate an “orderly shut-down.” Employees that an agency determines are essential to meet emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property will be ordered to report to work, including a small core of administrative and management officials needed to support them and deal with Congress.

    The people who work upon direction of their agencies will get paid. For the emergency workers, the Government is allowed to “make obligations” for their payment, but payment may be delayed. The people who are furloughed, at least since the 1970s, have all been paid as well (on the theory the shut-down wan’t our fault). In the current political climate, where politicians are seeking to reduce deficits through cuts in outlays for Federal employees, that trend may not continue.

    OMB requires justifications if more than 5% of the workforce of an agency is kept on, but it’s generally conceded that agencies that have a heavy law enforcement or national security dimension will run over the cap, and circumstances sometimes drive agencies to adjust their definition of “emergency work” to suit the circumstances. SSA had to do this in shut-down of the mid-1990s.

  11. Nicole Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Is there really a chance the republicans will succeed in making it so employees do not get retoactive pay for the period they aren’t able to work (through no fault of their own)? I know Issa from California said he wants that to happen.

  12. Fred Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Will those federal employees deemed non-essential be retroactively paid? And if so, how soon would it be after the government shut down has ended?

  13. d Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 11:46 am

    how likely (or unlikely) is it that if there were a shutdown, we would get retro-activly paid, like in the 90′s?

  14. fallon Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I cannot factor this into our finances. My husband is out of work and we are barely treading water. The spend recklessly for 8 years republicans are now trying to blame the hard workers of America!

  15. J Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    If SSA has furloughs and only a skeleton crew is on hand to ensure ‘building maintenance’, will people still receive their monthly checks?

  16. Adam Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Will military veterans still recieve doctors care and perscriptions from the va hospital if theres a government shutdown?

  17. apples Says:
    February 20th, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Will DoD Civilian services be shutdown?

  18. Whaa Says:
    February 20th, 2011 at 9:25 am

    No work with pay? No Work without pay? benefits? When will this happen? lots of questions….

  19. Theresa N. Says:
    February 20th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I am a single 52 yr old Term employee and I fully anticipate not being asked to return afterward if the gov’t shuts down – despite the fact that I’ve received the best reviews & most awards of my entire federal career in this position. It is a dichotomy for the lawmakers to think they are creating more jobs by eliminating others. I also have federal student loans to pay off, which amount to about half of my current salary. I have worked very hard to improve my life honestly, to bring my credit score up & my debt down; but losing my job now will change all of that. I will literally be homeless, unemployed with a Master’s degree, & unable to pay my bills at 52 years old. How is that helping the economy? I agree with the President when he says the cuts should be done with a scalpel, not a machete. Is anyone out there listening?

  20. bill hartsog Says:
    February 20th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    what’s going to happen with the mortgage companys and banks when they don’t get thier payments? Will they be able to charge thier exorbitent late fees?

  21. D Says:
    February 20th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    How long with the gov’t shut down for?

  22. Fedline » NFL, government could shut down at roughly the same time Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 10:54 am

    [...] funding government agencies will expire. If a budget deal has not been struck by then — also increasingly unlikely — the government will shut down and send most government workers home without [...]

  23. SandraSparrow Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Will federal retirees receive their pension for the month of March?

  24. SM Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    SSA : Would furloughs hit all at once or would the furlough days be spreadout throughout the remainder of the fiscal year? Meaning out of work for a month straight or 1-2 days per pay period?

    SSA: when the field office is closed would management be required to still go to the office?

    SSA: would there be an option for split furloughs? Such as 1/2 the office off M, then full staff T/W/Th and the other 1/2 of the office off on Friday so that someone would be available to help the public?

    SSA: how does a furlough effect agency contribution to my TSP, pension, leave and other benefits?

    SSA: would we be required to work at the office without pay?

    SSA: would we have any advance notice as to when the furloughs would start so we government workers can get a financial plan together so we aren’t totally screwed on our bills?

    I have been with SSA for a little over 7 years and this is the first time I am actually concerned about my job and well being (probably like a lot of other Feds). Hang in there everyone and hopefully everything will work out.

  25. C. Hirman Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Talk of a government shut-down has been in the air for weeks. We’re now under two weeks from it happening, if it does. Why have we received no guidance yet? Is OPM asleep at the switch? For that matter, when the propaganda campaign began to discredit federal employees, where were federal unions to set the record straight?

    We are federal employees. We are proud of that. We serve honorably, work hard, and bristle at suggestions that our contribution is insignificant. Where are our backers?

    When the overpaid federal employee nonsense began and out-of-context salary comparisons were being made, where was OPM? When our foes so effectively turned state and private workers against federal workers, because they’d already started suffering hardships and we were portrayed as smug and and uncaring – why did no one set the record straight? Were they too busy looking after their own interests?

    And now that we’re on the doorstep of a furlough – where is OPM?

    Tomorrow I’ll get up early, as usual, and put in a very long day, as usual. I won’t be finished until I’ve worked through lunch, as I always do, and the clock indicates I’ve been at it at least 12 hours, often more; as usual. After work I’ll get online to read the news, because I was working during evening TV news, and read more talk from Congress about how little I work and how overpaid I am. Is there no one in our corner?

  26. Marianne Denning Says:
    February 22nd, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I’m with you C. Hirman…we work earlier in the a.m. than any business I’ve ever been with, and late into the evenings. We all work from home on the weekends…but who stands up for us??? No one.

  27. marie harvey Says:
    February 22nd, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    if all we live on is ss how are we to pay our bills

  28. Catherine Says:
    February 22nd, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    How will Congress be affected by a furlough? Will they and their staffs get paid? Will their health benefits be suspended? Fair is fair…

  29. Marc Says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Does this mean commercial airports will be shut down? I assume the TSA screeners would be considered non-essential and if they are essential, they will have a skeleton crew. How about Air Traffic Controllers? Will banks and credit unions be affected. If a Federal Employee has scheduled leave that happens to fall during shutdown and the Government gives Administrative leave will employees with leave scheduled be able to change their leave to Administrative especially if they have to cancel their vacation as a result of the shutdown? With no pay, I may cancel my trip and there is the possibility closures could effect air travel even if TSA and Air Traffic Controllers are essential and will report to work.

  30. Scott Says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Would the IRS be shut down? Will tax returns be processed? Will refunds be mailed?

  31. Stephanie Says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 11:58 am

    What would happen to Thrift Savings loan repayments if we don’t get a paycheck?

  32. Nick kin Says:
    February 24th, 2011 at 2:46 am

    I work for the IRS. Come on people relax the world is not going to end with a few lost paychecks. We are the highest on the food chain. People can live on a bag of rice for weeks. Accept and adapt. We r all spoiled. Enjoy the economical fast and take the time to learn something new. I have good credit, a mortgage, wife and kids too. We will survive. So will u.

  33. Martha Says:
    February 24th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Nick – God bless you for being so prepared, but being without my paycheck for a couple of weeks will put me further in the hole. I have a mortgage, a husband, two college loan payments for my kids…and while I will survive, it will be very tough.

  34. Steve H Says:
    February 28th, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I am really concerned. What about electricity and water…will they still work? And what about traffic lights? Will the internet be shut-down since it’s run by the federal government.? Will the dead rise from the grave and start feeding on the living? This is scary!

  35. Karen Cotton Says:
    March 4th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    All I know is the Washington Post said.This is a tight rope act without a net.This is just politics.If the goverment shuts down it will be bad for both Republicans and Democrates.As far as I am concerned they are just using politics.The Republicans to get cuts on spending.

  36. heidi richhart Says:
    April 6th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    My father is retired from the federal government and recieves a retirement every month. If there is a government shut down would that affect and result in him and people like him who recieves retirement pay every month loosing and not getting their retirement pay every month ?

  37. JJ Henderson Says:
    April 7th, 2011 at 4:23 am

    “Over 80% of TSA workforce has been deemed to be essential personel”, just as air traffic controllers, law enforcement, and military are. (Source ABC news, April 6, 2011)

  38. renee petonic Says:
    April 7th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    i’m a nurse at a v.a. hospital, will i get paid??????????
    can not afford a gap in pay!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. dlacy Says:
    April 7th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    If you work for VA will employees still get paid during government shut down.

  40. Mike Says:
    April 7th, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    During the 1970′s the goverment was shut down for a week. When we came back I work for the VA the new budget had a resolution in it to pay all furlough federal workers. Trust me If congress is getting paid all federal workers will get paid.

  41. Alison Says:
    July 1st, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    With this new shutdown , Will Somalians still get paid by the government since their country is in turmoil ?