According to today’s article from Yahoo News, Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday September 30, 2013.

How does this affect the US, and its workers?

1)      ALL government agencies must post their contingency plans online with the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) – the following link is the plan for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which includes U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) among numerous other agencies.   http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/contingencyplans/2013/dhs-lapse-plan-summary-09-27-13.pdf.  You can get the full list of agency contingency plans at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans

2)      It is expected that approximately 800,000 civilian Federal workers may be furloughed with the shutdown. Agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency will be all but shuttered. People classified as essential government employees — such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors — will continue to work. The self-funded Postal Service will continue to operate and the government will continue to pay Social Security benefits and Medicare and Medicaid fees to doctors on time. Military personnel will continue to be paid under a law that was recently signed by President Obama.

3)      This guidance applies to activities that are funded by annual appropriations. Some agency functions have alternative funding sources and, as a result, are not directly affected by a lapse in annual appropriations. Employees performing those functions will generally continue to be governed by the normal pay, leave, and other civil service rules.

4)      Those services that will remain operational will do so specifically due to one of two reasons.  Either (a) they are necessary for the safety of life and protection of property, or (b) they have “another sourcing fund” (other than appropriations).

5)      More information is available on the DHS website at http://www.dhs.gov/publication/federal-funding-hiatus-contingency-plan.  This includes the complete DHS Procedures Relating to a Federal Funding Hiatus document which provides more details http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/dhs-lapse-contingency-plan-09-27-2013_0.pdf.   Information specific to CBP starts on page 30.

6)      Until the shutdown is resolved, companies can anticipate that Border Security programs, including Border Patrol and CBP Air and Marine Operations, Port of Entry Operations (including cargo security & revenue collection) will continue to function.  However, all other areas will likely be impacted.

It is undetermined how long the shutdown will last, but stay tuned here on Global Trade News for updates as they become available.