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September 27
County Priority Programs Could be Impacted in Government Shutdown

If Congress fails to enact a stop-gap spending measure before the start of the fiscal year on October 1, federal agencies and programs that operate on annual appropriated funds will experience a funding gap. Under the Antideficiency Act (P.L. 97-298) these agencies must discontinue all non-essential discretionary functions. Essential services, especially those related to public safety, will continue to be carried out, as will mandatory spending programs like Social Security and Medicare.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires each agency to maintain a plan for operations in the absence of appropriations. However, only a few agencies had disclosed their plans by press time. For OMB guidance on agency operations during a potential shutdown, click here.

Here are some details about what to expect in programs that are important to counties if a shutdown occurs:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) inspectors would remain on the job, although FSIS support functions, such as administrative appeals and labeling, could be impacted
    • Conservation Reserve Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program would stop enrollment.
    • Foreign Agricultural Service's Foreign Market Development Program and the Market Access Program could stop.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • ​Most of the 17,000 employees would be furloughed. 
    • EPA programs that involve state and local partners, such as the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) and Superfund programs would continue.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    • ​State Medicaid programs should not be disrupted since the federal match is distributed prospectively on a quarterly basis. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrative functions, like processing state waiver applications, would be halted.
    • Implementation of the Affordable Care Act should largely proceed because mandatory funding was included in the Act itself.
    • States would not receive quarterly payments for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant, but would be able to use carryover funds from FY 2013.
  • ​The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
    • ​Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would not be able to endorse any single-family loans and FHA staff would not be available to underwrite and approve new loans.
    • HUD would only continue to disburse payments to cities, counties and states for CDBG, HOME funds and other block grant funds in cases where failure to do so would result in a threat to safety of life and protection of property.
    • Disaster Recovery Assistance Programs would be funded through multi-year appropriations.
    • Essential housing and emergency services for homeless persons would continue.
    • Additional payments to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) would stop. It is projected that most of the country’s 3,300 PHAs have the necessary funds to continue providing rental assistance for the remainder of the month. However, depending on the length of the shutdown, some PHAs may not be able to maintain normal operations.
    • PHAs would not have to halt issuing Housing Choice Vouchers during a shutdown. However, HUD would be unable to provide additional funds.
    • Nearly all of the Fair Housing agency housing activities would cease.
    • Most employees are not deemed essential and therefore would be furloughed.
  • ​U.S. Department of the Interior
    • ​All areas of the National Park and National Wildlife Refuge Systems would be closed and public access would be restricted.
    • The Bureau of Land Management would terminate all nonemergency activities on the public lands.
    • Only those activities needed to respond to emergency situations would be conducted by the Office of Surface Mining.
    • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement would continue to ensure the safety of drilling and production operations and issue drilling and other offshore permits, however renewable activities and five year plan work would be terminated.
    • A total of 7,707 personnel would be excepted from furlough in order to protect life and property – the majority being law enforcement, wildland fire, emergency response and security, animal caretakers, maintenance and other personnel that would be focused on the custodial care of lands and facilities and protection of life and property.
  • ​U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
    • ​Unemployment Insurance operations would function except for administrative costs reimbursements.
    • Workforce Investment Act adults, dislocated workers and youth grants that have already been obligated can continue to be drawn down. Any of those to be issued after October 1st would be impacted, and would not be available for draw down until the government reopened. Technical assistance would be limited.
    • Disaster National Emergency Grants would be accepted.
  • ​U.S. Department of the Treasury
    • ​Fiscal Service would maintain payments, collections, and daily cash management and processing of essential authority/appropriation transactions based on applicable statutes. This includes resources to support disbursement of interest on the debt and disbursements of Social Security and other federal benefits. 
    • Internal Revenue Service Office of Tax Exempt and Government Entities will be limited to five excepted employees to ensure statute protection during the shutdown period. 

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