We are rapidly approaching the end of the federal fiscal year and the prospects for a government shutdown on October 1 appear increasingly likely. The House Speaker is still trying to find a path forward on a 30-day “continuing resolution” or “CR” this week.
Continued opposition from certain members of the House Freedom Caucus stand in the way and proposed funding cuts, and border policy provisions included in a CR will be rejected by the Senate and the White House.
We’ve compiled information for you on the impact of a lapse in appropriations if lawmakers cannot advance a stopgap funding measure before September 30.
The White House Office of Management & Budget website includes an FAQ page and a compilation of individual agency shutdown plans. We expect many of these to be updated in the next two weeks.
Under a shutdown, “nonessential” government and congressional staff who are paid by federal appropriations are sent home without pay. This includes agency contracting officers, grant evaluators, program directors, and almost all staff.
Contracts and programs are delayed or halted, and for new contracts and grants, even if an award was announced or expected, the staff are not allowed to work until a CR or full-year bill is enacted.
Government employees who are essential to life and safety, such as military members, air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Administration officers, and law enforcement officers, must work without pay until a CR or full-year bills are enacted.
Certain transportation programs will continue to operate because they receive funding outside of the annual appropriations process. Employees at the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration will continue to work as normal because these programs are funded through the Highway Trust Fund and advanced appropriations under the IIJA.
A lapse in regular appropriations does not affect them. That said, federal resource agencies will not be able to process environmental or other regulatory reviews, which potentially could impact some transportation projects as well other critical infrastructure sectors.
The delay in infrastructure project permitting through EPA and the Department of Interior was noted in a statement from the White House today on the impacts of a shutdown.
Some activities at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will continue, including those related to public health and safety (e.g. inspections and accident response) and those funded through the IIJA. However, all FRA grant-making and contracting would cease during the shutdown.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel essential for public health and safety, such as air traffic control services, would continue to work without pay. In addition, activities and programs funded through advance appropriations in the IIJA will proceed.
However, existing airport development grants, airport planning and environmental services, and other programs funded by the Airport Improvement Program are also set to expire on September 30 and will require an extension of FAA authorizations.
ACEC will keep you updated on developments.