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For thousands of federal employees who head to work today, it won't be to execute their agencies' missions, but to shut down their computers, fill out a timesheet and, in some cases, hand over their BlackBerry smartphones. Here are four things feds should know as they prepare for the first government shutdown in more than 17 years.
If they ever make a movie or TV sitcom about Congress, they might consider calling it something like "The Wizards of Oooze". And nobody knows why better than feds on the brink of the cliff, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.
Despite coming close in 2011, a government shutdown hasn't occurred since 1996. Frank Reeder, who was director of the Office of Administration of the White House in the Clinton administration at the time, said one of the most challenging aspects was managing the morale of the federal workforce.
Federal employees began learning Friday whether they'll be forced to stay home if the government shuts down next week. Supervisors were tasked with informally telling employees today whether they are classified as "essential" or "nonessential," according to several federal-employee unions briefed by the Obama administration. Congress is prepared to work through the weekend, but the clock is ticking down for lawmakers to agree on a funding bill keeping the lights on at agencies beyond Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.