While the House and Senate remain far apart on a spending deal, the federal government will soon formally initiate the process of preparing for a potential shutdown, participating in the mandatory but standard process of releasing shutdown guidance to agencies ahead of the September 30 funding deadline.
The standard procedure laying out the steps toward bringing non-essential government functions to a halt is about to get underway.
“One week prior to the expiration of appropriations bills, regardless of whether the enactment of appropriations appears imminent, OMB will communicate with agency senior officials to remind agencies of their responsibilities to review and update orderly shutdown plans, and will share a draft communication template to notify employees of the status of appropriations,” reads a budget circular document from the Office of Management and Budget.
With a potential shutdown just one week away, that communication will be sent to agencies Friday, OMB officials told CNN.
Every department and agency has its own set of plans and procedures. Those plans include information on how many employees would get furloughed, which employees are essential and would work without pay (for example, air traffic controllers, Secret Service agents and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory staff), how long it would take to wind down operations in the hours before a shutdown and which activities would come to a halt.
It’s not the first time the government has been on the brink of a shutdown. The government shut down for 35 days, a record length, from December 2018 to January 2019 amid a congressional stalemate over funding for then-President Donald Trump’s border wall.
The government also shut down for three days over a deadlock during the Trump administration in January 2018. And in 2013, then-President Barack Obama presided over a 16-day partial government shutdown caused by a dispute over the Affordable Care Act and other budget disagreements.