Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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Shhh, don't talk about your shutdown plans

The threat of a government shutdown is again real. The measure that funds federal agencies is set to expire April 8, yet members of Congress appear unwilling to reach a long-term compromise.

The lack of a fiscal 2011 budget has made it hard for federal managers to plan and gather important data, experts said. But the exact nature of the challenges agencies face now and in the event of a shutdown have not been made clear.

That’s because the Obama administration is telling agencies not to publicly discuss the consequences of a budget shortfall, according to documents obtained by USA Today through the Freedom of Information Act.

In February e-mail messages from the Office of Management and Budget, agencies were told their statements to Congress “should not state or imply what functions would or would not be continued in the event of a funding gap,” USA Today reported.

The message continued: “Agencies should not be previewing shutdown plans – that is, policy and operational decisions – in any way.”

Agencies have been instructed to clear any responses to questions about their shutdown plans with OMB.

An OMB spokeswoman told USA Today that because agencies are “continually reviewing plans to ensure they are up-to-date, it would not be prudent and it would be premature to discuss plans that have not been finalized.”

How do you feel about federal agencies keeping their shutdown plans under wraps? Also, what are your concerns about how a shutdown would affect your agency?

Posted by Alyah Khan on March 30, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Reader comments

Thu, Apr 7, 2011

I vote Shut Down Congress First. Better yet, since these individuals are incapable of perfroming their job duties, perhaps they should all be fired.

Fri, Apr 1, 2011

Explain to my children why I can't feed them! Explain to my spouse why we can't pay rent oh better yet say that to my landlord, and all my bills. You say shut the Government down to show the Civilians, guess what Civilians (DoD personnel) are Civilians! This is a catastrophic disaster waiting but yet we sent Personnel to assist in Japan! What about the USA American people who might have no money to pay next months rent! Shutting the government down is not the answer! If so, instead of Furloughing give every have Friday a Furlough day. It wouldn't give Americans an option to make ends meet to a certain extent but not completely cut their paycheck. There has to be another solution!

Fri, Apr 1, 2011 SOTE COntractor Federal Agency

I have no problem keeping our agency's plans secret from congress, the press or the enemy. I just wish the Feds would tell us what our plans are.

Fri, Apr 1, 2011

Bill, I see a common thread here to "Shut it all down." To shut it all down that would include the Federal Prisons. So, are you saying to cut all the federal prisoners lose too? If you shut all the gov down that includes the prisons. If I remember correctly one city like Phoenix, AZ has a 4,000 bed prison. I am just positive the people of Phoenix would open their arms to 4,000 prisoners running lose in the city.

Fri, Apr 1, 2011 Kelcy

I think the gov`t should shut down on 8 April. All the retirement checks have gone out but the social security checks now go out throughout the month so there will be a lot of people who go without for a few days or weeks. And Medicare payments would also go out based on all procedures done so all non-acute emergency procedures should be stopped immediately. All those scans, tests, hip replacements, cataract surgeries, etc should be cancelled pending restart of the gov`t. Obviously inhospital treatment already begun needs to continue as would response to acute emergencies. This should all be true at the VA hosptitals as well. Medications should stop being dispersed unless the recipient is using their own health care insurance and not Medicare Part D. Doors to all gov`t buildings should be locked so no one can get in but emergency center personnel. This includes all the Congressional aids, staffers (personal or professional). Only DoD exceptions should be over incountry (Iraq and Afghanistan, Korea (still considered a war zone), whatever we are doing to support the Libya no-fly zone of course). All others are just staffers. (May make exceptions for military hospitals treating wounded warriors.... but not us retirees or the dependents (unless already inhospital). This should also shutdown border crossings into the US as well. Will stop all that truck traffic for sure as well as workers who walk north/south to work. Last shutdown I still had to go to work while the civilians were sent home. This time nobody should be in. No automation continuing to send money out. Nothing. I sincerely doubt Americans have a clue as to what the federal gov`t does for them on a day-to-day basis so lets show them.

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