Causey: Possible furlough, no pay

Wednesday - 2/23/2011, 7:47pm EST

Mike Causey, correspondent, Federal News Radio

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By John Buckner
Federal News Radio

The precedent of a government shutdown in 1995 and 1996 could help agencies prepare for the possibility for one next week.

However, the composition of feds and the mood of Congress are very different from 15 years ago.

"Because of the 9/11 incidents, there has been tremendous growth in the intelligence and law enforcement and a variety of things. And as a result, you have many more people who would certainly be considered as emergency workers or indispensible," Federal News Radio's Mike Causey told the DorobekINSIDER.

Causey said the average federal employee has about 17 years of service. Veterans of the previous shutdowns remember that Congress passed a bill to compensate all workers for their time off.

However, it is important to consider the climate of government right now, Causey said.

"This time around, a different mood in Congress, all you have to do is look at the papers and look at the problems state governments are having with their public employees, real and perceived," Causey said. "Several people have raised the possibility that this time around, if it happens, a mean spirited Congress could say, ‘Look, we shut it down, you didn't work, you're not going to get paid.'"

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is floating a plan to fund government for 30 days. He says the bill will give lawmakers time to negotiate a final spending bill for 2011. But House Republican leaders have rejected any bill that does not include cuts.

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John Buckner is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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