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Shutdown: White House issues detailed shutdown memo FAQ, etc.

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WASHINGTON--The Obama White House, faced with the increasing possibility of a federal government shutdown at midnight on Friday, on Thursday afternoon issued a 16-page memo with instructions to agencies and employees on how to proceed if the shutdown becomes real.

A negotiation session on Thursday afternoon at the White House with President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) failed to yield a deal; the parties return to the Oval Office this evening.

From the Obama Office of Management and Budget:

At this time, agencies should proceed
as follows:

Today, Thursday, April 7: You should continue to review your shutdown plans and begin the process of communicating the details of your plans to all employees. Your communications with an employee should address the expected status of that employee under a shutdown: that is, whether the employee would continue to report to work (either because the employee is paid from an appropriation that continues to remain available or because the employee would be needed for the agency's performance of its "excepted" functions) or instead would be placed on furlough as "non-excepted."

An agency may , complete this communication electronically if appropriate. Agencies also are encouraged to conduct appropriate outreach to unions, State, local and tribal governments, grantees, contractors, Congressional committees, and other stakeholders.
Tomorrow, Friday, April 8: As noted, the current CR expires at midnight tomorrow. Therefore, tomorrow is a normal workday for the Federal Government, and all employees should report to work as normal. Agencies must complete the process of communicating to all employees their status under a shutdown no later than the end of the day tomorrow.
We will advise you tomorrow of further developments, including whether a new CR will likely be enacted. If we inform you tomorrow that a new CR is not likely to be enacted, then you should prepare to implement your shutdown plan beginning on Saturday, April 9.

In that case, agencies must instruct non-excepted employees (including those who do not have a weekend work schedule) that they are prohibited, pursuant to the legal requirements of the Anti deficiency Act, from performing any work over the weekend pending further notice. This means that the non-excepted employees will be prohibited, after midnight on Friday night, from working remotely, such as from home --including by accessing agency information technology (e.g., Blackberries, cell phones, computers, laptops), except to the extent that the agency's contingency plan provides for the agency to use such technology to provide non-excepted employees with updates regarding their furlough and return-to-work status. Also, as noted below, there may be circumstances in which certain employees are accessing agency information technology remotely for a brief period to carry out de minimis shutdown related activities.

If there is a lapse in appropriations, during the employee's next scheduled work day (i.e.,
Saturday or Sunday for weekend employees; Monday for all other employees), an agency
shall have its non-excepted employees perform -for up to a half-day (e.g., up to four
hours) -such "orderly shutdown" activities as are needed for the agency's implementation
of its contingency plan (e.g., turning in equipment if required).

Non-excepted employees
who are scheduled to telework on their next scheduled work day may perfonn these
shutdown activities from their telework location, if an existing telework agreement is in
place. In addition, agencies at their discretion may allow other employees to conduct
shutdown activities from a remote location, even without an existing telework agreement,
if the nature of the employees' shutdown activities are de minimis (i.e., can be completed inapproximately 15 minutes). For example, such activities would include receiving and
acknowledging receipt of an electronic furlough notice and adjusting voicemail and email
to reflect current work status. All other non-excepted employees will be expected to
report to work on their next scheduled work day to carry out orderly shutdown activities.
Saturday, April 9/Sunday, April 10/Monday, April 11: During the weekend, we will advise you further, depending on the status of appropriations action, as follows:

Normal Operations: If it is apparent late Friday evening or early Saturday that a new CR is likely to be enacted on Saturday, OMB will instruct agencies to operate in a normal manner (and not engage in shutdown activities).

Shutdown: If no new CR is likely to be enacted on Saturday, OMB will issue
instructions on Saturday for agencies to proceed with their shutdown
implementation, initiating the orderly shutdown by non-excepted employees.
Agencies will need to issue furlough notices to non-excepted employees during the
next scheduled work day (Saturday or Sunday for weekend employees and Monday
for all other employees). Agencies are encouraged to issue furlough notices
electronically to employees where possible. Absent compelling circumstances,
agencies should complete orderly shutdown activities for non-excepted personnel
within the first half-day (i.e., up to four hours) of an employee's nonnal work

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 7, 2011 3:26 PM.

"Tea Party extreme social agenda" forcing shutdown: Reid, Durbin, Schumer and Murray was the previous entry in this blog.

Government websites--IRS excepted--will not be maintained in a shutdown: OMB memo is the next entry in this blog.

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