Federal Government Shutdown Continues—January 23, 2019 Update

At midnight on December 21, 2018, multiple federal government agencies went into shutdown mode of non-essential services and personnel. The partial federal government shutdown has occurred because fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations funding for the affected agencies has not yet been approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. These agencies (the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Commerce, and Justice) had been operating on a continuing resolution that expired on December 21, 2018. The current shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history.

The sticking point to passing the remaining FY 2019 appropriations measures is President Trump's request for funding to build a barrier/wall on the U.S. Southern Border. The new 116th Session of Congress was sworn into office on January 3, 2019. Democrats now control the U.S. House of Representatives, while the Republicans control the U.S. Senate. Both President Trump and the Democrats appear to be digging in their heels. Congress has passed a bill (S. 24) to pay federal government employees impacted by the partial shutdown as soon as their agencies are reopened, and President Trump has stated he will sign it.

This week, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have votes planned on legislation that if passed and signed into law, would bring an end to the current partial government shutdown, and provide disaster relief funding. The Senate measure, offered by Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL), will be offered in the form of an amendment to the House bill H.R. 268, which was introduced in the House by Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY), and includes disaster relief funding of just over $12 billion. The House passed a separate disaster relief package last week, with just over $14 billion. In both cases, disaster funds would be distributed through several federal agencies. In fiscal year 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alone received $59.3 billion in emergency disaster aid.

APWA will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Administration and Congressional offices to ensure public works interests are represented in all negotiations. If you are being impacted by the federal government shutdown in your department, agency, or projects are stalled as a result, please contact APWA Director of Government Affairs Andrea Eales at aeales@apwa.net or (202) 218-6730. Knowing the impacts on our members can be helpful in our discussion with Congressional offices and the Administration.