Government shutdown looms as lawmakers debate funding bill

SSA prepares for potential shutdown, discusses furloughs

At least one government agency is beginning discussions on how it would deal with a potential government shutdown if funding for this fiscal year runs out in March and no continuing resolution is in place to take over, which experts say is now likely, according to media reports. 

The House is currently debating a continuing resolution introduced by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) to fund the government for the remainder of this fiscal year. But, Democrats and the Obama administration have expressed strong opposition to the measure because of its deep cuts to a number of government programs.

And House Speaker John Boehner said Feb. 17 that he would not support a stopgap measure to continue funding the government at current levels. “When we say we’re going to cut spending, read my lips: We’re going to cut spending,” Boehner told reporters in the Capitol, according to Politico.

Boehner’s remarks upset Democratic lawmakers, and prompted a high-ranking aide to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to tell Democratic chiefs of staff in a private meeting that a government shutdown is “more likely than not,” Politico reported Feb. 18.

Still, Senate Republicans insist that a shutdown isn’t going to happen.

“Nobody is talking about shutting the government down,” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the second-ranking Senate Republican said Feb.15, according to the Washington Post. The Post noted that budget disagreements between former President Bill Clinton and GOP members in 1995 and 1996 resulted in federal agencies halting operations and stopping federal pay.

The heated debate about funding for this fiscal year has led the Social Security Administration to start considering how it would enact a furlough in case of a shutdown, Federal Times reported Feb.17.

SSA told the American Federation of Government Employees that it wanted to start bargaining over a potential furlough.

SSA Chief Human Capital Officer Reginald Wells said the agency has “largely planned who would make up a ‘skeleton crew’ that would have to keep working during a shutdown,” according to Federal Times. “Most of these employees would have to maintain computer systems, facilities, and other elements of SSA’s infrastructure, or provide security at buildings.”

Wells added that regular discussions are taking place at the agency about how to implement a possible shutdown. Federal Times reports that SSA said furlough negotiations with the union must begin by March 22.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.