Good morning! Today we launch a new–and presumably temporary–feature on FedLine: A regular (as events warrant) rundown of all the noteworthy shutdown-related news that we can find.
Given what happened over the weekend, we’re playing catch-up today. As always, would appreciate your help in keeping federal employees informed on what’s happening across government. You can email tips at any time to email@example.com. Feel free to offer suggestions on how to make this feature useful. We’ll start by calling it “Shutdown Watch,” but are definitely open to something more original.
So, we start Day 7 of the partial shutdown with what is probably old news to most readers, but for the record, there were two major developments Saturday. That morning, the House of Representatives voted 407-0 to ensure furloughed feds get back pay once the partial shutdown ends. The bill is now with the Senate, which could vote to send it to President Obama early this week.
Then, that afternoon, the Defense Department, citing newly granted authority under the Pay Our Military Act, announced that it is recalling most of the approximately 350,000 civilian employees who had been furloughed without pay. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, here’s the official memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, along with the transcript of a call that DoD Comptroller Robert Hale held with reporters that provides a lot of useful detail. At least some civilian employees who work for the Coast Guard (a part of the Department of Homeland Security that’s nonetheless considered part of the armed forces) could also be going back to work.
On the heels of that step, United Technologies Corp. announced the cancellation of plans to furlough almost 2,000 aerospace workers. The reason, according to the Connecticut-based contractor: DoD is recalling Defense Contract Management Agency inspectors needed to oversee the manufacturing process. But Lockheed Martin is sending home some 2,400 workers (although that’s fewer than the 3,000 initially forecast), and BAE Systems has “excused from work” about 1,000 employees with the company’s intelligence and security division.
In other news, the Federal Aviation Administration is asking creditors to extend “flexibility” to some 45,000 FAA employees who may not be collecting paychecks for a while. And we couldn’t let the occasion pass without posting this much-circulated coded plea from some National Weather Service forecasters in Alaska. As your mother probably told you, it never hurts to use humor to make a point.