The 2014 fiscal year for the Federal government runs from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014. For the last five years, Congress and the administration have failed to agree upon a budget. Until now, with many fits and starts, the government has operated under a series of continuing resolutions in lieu of an enacted budget. In the absence of an adopted budget or continuing resolution (CR), the majority of the Federal government closes. Civilian employees are furloughed and program spending virtually ceases.
On Sept. 26, the Department of Homeland Security‘s Chief Procurement Officer, Nick Nayak, issued a letter to its industry partners describing the effects that they would see from a government shutdown. The letter itself contained few specifics. Contractors and vendors working with DHS will have to rely upon their Contracting Officer for notice of delays, cuts or cancellations.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3210, the Pay Our Military Act, on Saturday by a vote of 423 to 0, ensuring that the active duty military and civilians supporting them, will be payed. The measure was then sent to the Senate for their action. The Wall Street Journal, today, quotes an aide to Majority Leader Harry Reid as saying that the Senate will take up the measure on Monday and hopes to pass it.
DOD Comptroller Robert Hale told the press on Friday that up to half of all DOD civilian employees could face furlough in the event of a government shutdown. The Department of Defense has created a website for all of the latest information about the potential for a shutdown, Government Shutdown – What You Need to Know. The DOD’s Office of Personnel Management has its own site for shutdown information, Shutdown Furlough, with a large amount of information about this potential shutdown as well as how those in the past were handled.
The White House and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are maintaining a site that has links to agency contingency plans in the event of a government shutdown. The Veterans Administration offers the Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown. In an odd turn of events, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found funds that will permit it to operate for “at least one additional week of largely normal operations.”
In a press conference this morning, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gave a blunt and pointed statement about a potential shutdown. “But — but — but just my general thought on this, this is an astoundingly irresponsible way to govern. And when you look at the greatest democracy in the world, the largest economy in the world and we’re putting our people through this, that’s not leadership, that’s — that’s abdication of responsibilities. And — and I would hope that we would have enough members of Congress find some common ground to govern and at least make the big decisions in the larger interest of this country.”