Browsing: 2014 Budget

Shutdown Watch-Day 16: Could agencies reopen soon?


Good morning! For federal employees, it might be hard to imagine an upside to a wild day on Capitol Hill that began with House Republicans singing “Amazing Grace” and ended with warnings from Fitch credit rating agency that it was looking closely at downgrading the United States’ creditworthiness. But yesterday’s chaos could also presage an end to the partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1. The reason is simple: Any deal to reopen agencies is tied to raising the nation’s debt ceiling and lawmakers could make real headway on the latter front today. After the House GOP leadership was unable…

GovLoop launches morale-builder for non-essential feds


Let’s face it: Being designated a non-essential (non-excepted is the officially preferred, if seldom used phrasing) federal employee during a government shutdown can be a bummer, particularly since it means a no-pay furlough. To buck up feds’ spirits, the online networking site GovLoop has started a “You Are Essential” campaign that hands out free stickers and suggests that participants mobilize their Facebook pages in support. As of late Monday, almost 500 people had signed up, GovLoop founder Steve Ressler said in an email. You can find more information on the campaign here.

Shutdown Watch-Day 15. It's white-knuckle time.


Good morning! Let’s start the day with a cheery observation often attributed to the 18th-century English writer Samuel Johnson: “Nothing concentrates a man’s mind more than the prospect of being hanged in the morning.” Figuratively speaking, the same seems to be true of Congress. The specter of impending economic calamity, combined with rising public disapproval, (particularly for Republicans), over the partial government shutdown, appears to have prodded senators to close in on yet another stop-gap budget deal that could have just as easily been reached a month ago. As reported by Defense News, a sister publication of Federal Times, Senate…

How has the shutdown affected you?


Hi everyone: As of tomorrow morning, much of the federal government will have been closed for two full weeks.  If you’re a federal employee, how has this affected you? Federal Times is working on an article about the shutdown’s impact on the federal workforce; if you’d like to share your story, please email Staff Writer Sean Reilly at and let me know how to reach you. Thanks very much! Sean

Today's holiday just another furlough day for many feds


Officially, today (i.e., Oct. 14, marking Columbus Day) remains on the books as a paid federal holiday. But because of the partial government shutdown, only a limited number of federal employees are scheduled to be paid for it. Even employees deemed “excepted” (or as many feds put it, “essential”) during the shutdown must take today as an unpaid furlough day unless required to report to work, according to Office of Personnel Management instructions (check out pp. 12 and 13). As OPM puts it in a helpful question-and-answer format: “Q: Will an ‘excepted’ employee who does not work on a holiday…

Shutdown Watch-Day 14: Headed down to the wire (again)


Good Morning! Today is a federal holiday, but that doesn’t mean much to hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees as the partial government shutdown enters its third week. According to a message from one agency leader, the Office of Personnel Management has said this is an unpaid furlough day both for non-excepted and excepted employees unless they are required to report to “perform excepted functions.” And about ending that shutdown . . . Sunday produced lots of saber-rattling and zero tangible evidence that a deal is in sight, either on reopening the government or raising the $16.7 trillion debt…

Federal judge: Tell Congress to go to h—


No doubt many frustrated federal employees have thought it. Now a federal judge has said it: “It is time to tell Congress to go to hell.” That’s what Richard Kopf, a senior district judge in Nebraska, wrote on his personal blog last week, adding that “it’s the right thing to do.” It should quickly be said that Kopf, named to the bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and now semi-retired, was speaking figuratively as to how the judiciary should react to the funding impasse that triggered the partial government shutdown Oct. 1. As FedLine has previously noted, the courts…

Shutdown Watch-Day 13. Optimism wanes.


Good morning! It’s hard to believe that just two days have passed since Friday, when hopes were rising of  a compromise that would bring federal employees back to work and raise the nation’s borrowing limit in time to avoid a crippling default. Now, talks have broken down between the Obama administration and House Republicans, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has rejected a proposal by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that included a six-month continuing resolution. “There are two good things in it,” Reid told reporters yesterday. “Number one, it opens the government, number two, it extends the debt ceiling. Other than…

House members press for Senate action on back-pay bill


Two Virginia lawmakers are seeking quick Senate action on legislation that would assure back pay to furloughed federal employees once the partial government shutdown ends. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., passed the House last Saturday 407-0, but has stalled in the Senate, where Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has voiced reservations about a fast-track vote. In a Friday letter, Moran and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., the bill’s lead Republican co-sponsor, urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to work with their “respective caucuses to overcome any objections to advance this important legislation.”

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