The government is set to run out of money at the end of September unless Congress comes together to pass a funding bill, currently tied to suspending the country’s debt limit by Democrats. If that doesn’t happen, a government shutdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1.
As with all government shutdowns, certain government functions will come to a halt, while others will continue with employees not getting paid for a period of time. But a shutdown now has the added weight of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
If the government does shutdown, here are how the health agencies tasked with combatting the pandemic will move forward:
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- 38% of CDC staff would be retained during a government shutdown, including those supporting the Covid-19 response.
- 17% of those staffers are exempt, meaning their activities or positions are already funded or otherwise exempt.
- 21% of those staffers are excepted, meaning their activities are deemed necessary by implication, or for the safely of human life or protection of property.
US Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA says activities supported by Covid-19 supplemental funding, including work on emergency use authorizations, will continue.
- Mitigation efforts related to potential drug and medical product shortages and other supply chain disruptions, medical device infection control, work on enforcement actions for fraudulent, counterfeit and misbranded products related to COVID-19, and work on medical counter measures, therapies, and vaccines and important generic and biosimilar treatment options will also continue.
- 70% of FDA staff will be retained in the event of a government shutdown.
- 57% of those staffers are exempt, meaning their activities or position are already funded or otherwise exempted.
- 13% of those staffers are excepted, meaning their activities are deemed necessary by implication, or for the safety of human life or protection of property.
All federal agencies would by impacted by a shutdown. Here are some other agencies plans for a lapse in government funding:
Department of Defense
- All military personnel performing active duty will continue in a normal duty status regardless of their affiliation with excepted or non-excepted activities. Military personnel will not be paid until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service.
- Civilian personnel who are necessary to carry out or support excepted activities will continue in normal duty status and also will not be paid until Congress makes appropriated funds available.
- Civilian employees paid from lapsed appropriations and who are not necessary to carry out or support excepted activities will be furloughed, or in other words, placed in a nonwork, non-pay status.
Department of Homeland Security
- The Transportation Security Administration estimates 54,071 employees as the total number of employees exempt/excepted and estimated to be retained during a lapse in appropriations, although they will not be paid.
- During the last government shutdown in 2018/19, hundreds of TSA officers who were required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, called out from work at least four major airports.
National Park Service
- Upon a shutdown, parks must notify visitors that the NPS will cease providing visitor services, including restrooms, trash collection, facilities and roads maintenance (including plowing), campground reservation and check-in/check-out services, backcountry and other permits, and public information.
- All audit functions and examination of returns will be ceased.
Small Business Administration
- Most small business loan programs will cease approvals or support (aside from emergency assistance).
Housing and Urban Development
- There will be slowdowns in getting Federal Housing Assistance loans.
- All Smithsonian museums and galleries will be closed along with the National Zoo (including Panda Cam).
- When the Institution’s available prior-year funding is exhausted, only federal activities designated as “excepted” will continue. The employees performing these activities are protecting life or property (including the national collections, National Zoo animals, and the safety/security of facilities and staff) and engaging in the orderly shutdown and management of the operations.