Government Shutdown Looms on the Horizon as Congress Continues its August Vacation


While Congress spends the final two weeks of its five-week August recess in their home districts, a disaster is brewing here in Washington, D.C. Without immediate action by Congress upon their return in mid-September, federal employees will be locked out of work en-masse due to a government shutdown.

On September 9th, Congress will return to the first of just nine legislative work days scheduled until the existing continuing resolution – the spending measure currently funding the government – expires. Thus far, Congress has failed to fully approve any of the 12 separate appropriations bills necessary to fund the government in fiscal year 2014, which begins October 1st. Instead Congress is expected to pass another continuing resolution (CR), which essentially rolls over spending levels from the previous budget year.

In a Congress infected with intractable partisan infighting, even passing a spending measure as basic as a continuing resolution will be a heavy lift. Thus far there have been no serious proposals put forth to holistically address the funding shortfall, and all indications suggest that the two parties remain very far apart in their spending priorities.

“The lack of urgency on the part of our elected leaders is deeply disturbing,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “More than a million federal employees would be sent home without pay if Congress fails to reach an agreement by September 30th. This is unfair not just to the employees, but the American public who count on the vital services they provide. Congress needs to come back to Washington and do the jobs we sent them there to do.”