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Shutdown impact: How it affects agencies
Friday - 10/11/2013, 4:37pm EDT
With the shutdown of the federal government heading into its third week, Federal News Radio has prepared this snapshot of how federal agencies, programs, employees and contractors are faring. Scroll down or click the links to read about impact to specific areas.
The list is not comprehensive, and if you have an impact you'd like to share, click here to email us.
Click here to check out our full coverage of the government shutdown.
- WORKFORCE / PAY / BENEFITS
- CONTRACTING / ACQUISITION / INDUSTRY
- MILITARY / VETERANS
- SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY
- FEDERAL BUILDINGS / FACILITIES
WORKFORCE / PAY / BENEFITS
- When congressional appropriations lapsed Oct. 1, some 800,000 civilian
federal employees were notified they would be furloughed for the duration of the
- The number of furloughed feds has receded in recent days. First the Defense
Department recalled most of its
furloughed workers last week — the result of a last-minute law passed by
Congress before the shutdown went into effect. Other agencies, such as the Federal
Emergency Management Agency, have recalled their furloughed workers because of
emergency situations. All told, about 350,000 employees remain furloughed,
according to an estimate by the Associated Press.
- It's looking increasingly likely that all federal employees —
regardless of furlough status — will see delays in receiving their
paychecks. "Excepted" employees, who have remained on the job through the
shutdown, are accruing time for which they will eventually be paid — but
only after the shutdown ends.
- Backpay for furloughed employees requires specific legislation. It was
uncertain at first whether Congress would approve retroactive pay for nonworking,
furloughed employees. However, the House took the lead, unanimously passing such a bill. But the
measure has stalled in the Senate.
- Federal health benefits, retirement payments and employees' Thrift Savings
Plan are generally
unaffected by the shutdown. However, because employees are in nonpay status,
they are unable to contribute to their TSP accounts and are ineligible for their
agencies' matching contributions.
- Retirees will have to wait to find out the size of next year's cost-of-living adjustment. The Social Security Administration announced Oct. 9 that because the Labor Department is unable to report recent inflation statistics because of the shutdown, it would be delayed in announcing the COLA.
CONTRACTING / ACQUISITION / INDUSTRY
- Many of the largest defense contractors have announced large-scale furloughs
of parts of their workforce. URS Corporation announced that about 3,000 of its
employees would be furloughed because of the shutdown. Lockheed Martin has
furloughed 2,400 employees and BAE Systems has sent more than 1,000 home.
- On the other hand, United Technologies, which had originally planned to
furlough about 2,000 employees, canceled those plans after DoD recalled most
of its furloughed civilian workers
- The Defense Finance and Accounting Service says contractors should expect
delays in the payment process. While DFAS is open for business throughout the
shutdown, contract and vendor payments could be delayed because some DoD employees
involved in the payment process are furloughed.
- The General Services Administration's massive contract for professional services, known as OASIS, has been extended indefinitely because of the government shutdown.
MILITARY / VETERANS
- Military pay is unaffected by the shutdown. The passage of the Pay Our
Military Act, just hours before congressional appropriations lapsed last week,
also ensures that service members' paychecks aren't delayed.
- To much disgust and outrage, the Defense Department had to suspend the payment of "death
gratuities" to the families of service members killed in action to cover funeral
expenses and other immediate costs. DoD signed a deal with the nonprofit Fisher
House Foundation to cover the $100,000 payments. The contract provides for DoD to
the group once Congress ends the government shutdown. Congress also passed
- The Veterans Affairs Department is mostly exempt from shutdown-related
furloughs thanks to a unique funding structure at the agency. However, the agency
is quickly running dry of carry-over funding, leading to furloughs this past week
of 2,800 IT workers and another 7,800 from the Veterans Benefits Administration.
If the shutdown were to extend to Nov. 1, VA would be forced to furlough an
additional 10,000 employees.
- If the shutdown lasts into next month, VA says about 5 million people,
including veterans and surviving family members, will stop receiving benefit
checks. Tuition and education stipends for some 500,000 military and veteran
students under the GI Bill would also be halted.
- Burials in veterans cemeteries could be delayed because VA would be forced to
move to a modified burial schedule at 131 national cemeteries.
- The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. has been forced to cancel classes the week of Oct. 14 because of the shutdown. Nearly all of the academy's faculty and staff are civilians that are subject to furloughs.
SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY
- The federal government's chief information officer, Steven VanRoekel, told
the The Wall Street Journal in an
interview that most IT staffers responding to cyberattacks have been
furloughed. "I have fewer eyes out there," he said.
- Many public-facing agency websites went dark Oct. 1 because of the shutdown, including
the Agriculture Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA. Social
media accounts for many agencies have also been inactive.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission shut down most operations on Thursday, after
running out of carry-over fiscal 2013 funding. While resident inspectors will
remain on the job and any immediate safety or security matters will be handled,
only about 300 employees, out of a total workforce of 3,900, will remain on the
- About two-thirds of the staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been furloughed. The agency has scaled back its annual flu vaccination campaigns and is no longer issuing its weekly "Flu View" report to state and local public-health authorities.
About 98 percent of the staff at the National Science Foundation has been furloughed. Meanwhile, no new scientific grants are being issued.
- Medical research at the National Institutes of Health has been disrupted as some studies have been delayed. New patients are generally not being accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, but current patients continue to receive care. Nearly three-quarters of the NIH staff has been furloughed.
FEDERAL BUILDINGS / FACILITIES
- All national parks have been closed since the shutdown began, but the Obama
administration said this week it would allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks.
- The General Services Administration, the property manager for much of the federal government, says the buildings it owns, leases or manages will remain open with reduced services, similar to the limited services it offers on weekends. GSA also informed private-sector landlords that it will be able to make timely rental payment "assuming the current funding lapse is brief."