White House staff received guidance about how they will be affected by a government shutdown, the latest sign preparations for the federal workforce are accelerating as a spending deal remains out of reach ahead of Sunday’s deadline.
(Bloomberg) — White House staff received guidance about how they will be affected by a government shutdown, the latest sign preparations for the federal workforce are accelerating as a spending deal remains out of reach ahead of Sunday’s deadline.
The White House budget office sent an email to staff Thursday saying they will be divided into three categories: exempt, excepted and furloughed. All exempt and excepted workers were told they should report to work on Monday Oct. 2.
Excepted workers include senior White House staff members, known as commissioned officers. That group includes the chief of staff, director of the National Economic Council and press secretary, among others.
Other employees will be considered furloughed unless they hear otherwise from their supervisors, the email said. All furloughed staff must stop work as of midnight Sunday, Oct. 1, except for a four-hour period to “complete orderly shutdown activities,” according to the message, which urged recipients in the subject line to “PLEASE READ.”
The email said furloughed and excepted employees “will receive retroactive pay for the furlough period as soon as possible” after the shutdown ends.
Earlier: Shutdown Watch: What Stops, What Stays Open If Funds Lapse
Agencies have been planning for a funding lapse as Republicans struggle to coalesce around a spending plan, but the latest guidance is another sign the federal government is all but certain to shut down after the Sept. 30 deadline.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has sought to secure enough votes in the Republican-controlled chamber for a stopgap bill to keep the government open, which also includes deep spending cuts and stricter border and immigration policies backed by hard-line conservatives in his caucus.
Congressional Democrats and the White House oppose those measures, meaning that bill has virtually no chance of becoming law.
The Democrat-run Senate proposed a bipartisan plan that would keep the government open until mid-November and provide $6 billion in new assistance to Ukraine. That measure, though, is a nonstarter for House conservatives who want to halt or severely limit further assistance to Kyiv in its war against Russia’s invasion.
Many federal employees across all agencies are likely to be furloughed, but some will be deemed “essential” and made to work without pay until the shutdown ends.
The last government shutdown in 2018-2019 lasted 35 days, the longest in US history.
Then-President Donald Trump refused to sign a funding bill that lacked money for his border wall. He eventually relented and approved a temporary measure to reopen the government without more money for the wall. Trump has encouraged House Republicans to shutter the government once again in the current negotiations.
–With assistance from Akayla Gardner.
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