WASHINGTON - As Congress works to avoid a federal government shutdown on Saturday, agencies are prepping for that possibility.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius emailed staffers Wednesday about the prospects of a shutdown. In her email, she outlined how agencies would be affected:
If funding lapses, the affected Federal departments and agencies would not be permitted to incur further financial obligations for activities funded by annual appropriations, except those related to the orderly suspension of operations or performance of excepted activities. This means that some employees would be furloughed and unable to work. Our contingency planning for the potential funding lapse includes determining which agency functions and employees are excepted from a furlough. Should it become necessary to implement our contingency plans, non-FDA employees of HHS will receive informal notice from your manager no later than Friday, December 16 and formal notice no later than Monday, December 19 regarding the designation of your position and furlough status.
For our FDA team, although our Fiscal Year 2012 appropriation means we do not face a risk of shutdown, a funding lapse that would affect other agencies may have some limited implications for FDA's operations that we are working with FDA to evaluate at this time. As the week progresses and we learn more information regarding such implications, we will share it with FDA employees and initiate any contingency plans that are needed. We expect that, except in very limited circumstances, FDA staff will continue to work on a normal work schedule regardless of the status of other Federal agencies.
Federal workers are urged to check the Office of Personnel Management's website for its Frequently Asked Questions about furloughs.
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