Update on Government Shutdown

By Emily McCloskey January 20, 2018

Congress could not reach an agreement on the FY2018 continuing resolution and thus the government is now partially shut down. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) aims to bring up another measure that would provide three weeks of funding; however, the Democrats who voted against a four-week bill have said they would not switch their votes unless an agreement on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is met. Without a unanimous-consent to proceed with the funding bill, Monday is the earliest a new vote on the funding legislation could occur in the Senate. Similarly, any amended legislation would require a vote in the House.

The Office of Management and Budget released agency contingency plans. The contingency plan notes that “continuous updating of disease treatment and prevention recommendations (e.g., HIV, TB, STDs, hepatitis), and technical assistance, analysis, and support to state and local partners for infectious disease surveillance” will not continue. We will remain in contact with a small cadre of staff across agencies deemed “essential” to maintain the continuity of efforts occurring within our partner agencies such as CDC and HRSA. CDC and HRSA project officers are likely furloughed. We have also learned that in the instance of a public health disease outbreak, staff support would remain active. If health departments maintain a federal employee, they are furloughed.

As was the case during the 2013 shutdown, health department multiyear awards, including staff and grant activities funded through those programs, should continue during a shutdown. We are awaiting additional clarifying information about potential impacts as it relates to the drawdown of federal resources. We understand that HRSA and CDC plan to send out further information about the shutdown process for grantees.

We will remain open during the shutdown and will continue to communicate with relevant agency leads and provide timely updates as they become available. It is unclear how Congress will end the shutdown and the length of the shutdown is uncertain.