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The Office of Personnel Management updated its operating status early Thursday morning to "open." OPM says furloughed employees are expected to return to work Thursday, absent other instructions from their employing agencies. The Office of Management and Budget issued guidance to department and agency heads early Thursday, instructing them to reopen offices promptly and recall all furloughed employees.
Two weeks into a government shutdown that has hamstrung federal agencies and sent large sections of their employees home without pay, Congress is heading for another last-minute showdown — this time over raising the government's borrowing authority, known as the debt ceiling.
Federal employees who are "excepted" from furloughs have remained on the job despite the government shutdown, which is now stretching into its third week. OPM updated its shutdown guidance Friday to include instructions on how to handle "brief or intermittent unpaid absences" by excepted federal employees. Overall, OPM has made more than a dozen changes to its shutdown guidance since congressional appropriations for fiscal 2014 lapsed two weeks ago.
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board kicked off this week a multimillion-dollar plan to revamp the Thrift Savings Plan. The $2.3 million initiative, which was approved by board members last month, calls for TSP officials to broadly survey participants on the services and offerings they desire as well as how the TSP stacks up against other plans, including those in the private sector.
President Barack Obama is being updated by members of the White House about the impact of the government shutdown on key federal agencies and programs. Over the weekend, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough briefed Obama on the shutdown's impact on the government's research efforts, according to the White House.
For every day that the government shutdown drags on, federal managers face a potentially growing morale crisis in the federal-employee ranks. For federal managers, returning from the shutdown, however, will offer them the opportunity to refocus on the "federal brand," the set of ideals and sense of mission that the federal government is uniquely suited to offer.
Government contractors have not been immune from the effects of the shutdown. From a flurry of stop-work orders to a heightened — some say "cutthroat" — sense of competition in contracts that have, so far, been unaffected by the shutdown. Top experts from the procurement realm address some of the effects and challenges of the shutdown.
The House voted unanimously late Tuesday to pass the Federal Worker Pay Fairness Act. The bill, introduced by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) Tuesday afternoon, ensures "essential" federal employees, who are working through the shutdown, are paid on time even if the government remains closed.
Congress' failure to agree on a short-term funding measure last week immediately threw agencies into shutdown mode, shutting offices and sending hundreds of thousands of federal employees home without pay. But as the shutdown stretches into its second week with no end in sight, a round of second-order effects is beginning to ripple throughout government.
With the announcement from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recalling most Defense Department civilians from furloughs, some large defense companies, which had been planning to furlough their employees, have canceled or scaled back their initial plans. However, DoD's move could wind up having only a limited impact on contractors more broadly.