Federal Shutdown Looms, Local Effects Large

In past instances of federal government shutdowns, a meaningful effect on the regional economy has been felt. With uncertainty abounding (as we write, on Friday December 21), the potential for at least a partial federal shutdown seems possible – with obvious effects on federal employees and related segments of the Maryland and regional economy.

From overnight coverage in the Washington Post:

Barely 24 hours away from a shutdown set to start at the end of Friday, the House vote only hardened Washington’s budget impasse: Democrats have the Senate votes to block any bill that includes funding for Trump’s wall, and Trump says he’ll veto any bill that doesn’t.

The chances of a shutdown are “certainly higher than they were this morning,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said after Thursday night’s House vote.

Funding for roughly 25 percent of the federal agencies whose budgets rely on Congress will expire at the end of Friday. The agencies affected deal with homeland security, law enforcement, national parks, transportation and housing, among others.

Friday, the President had reinforced his views on negotiation principles, and speculated about a shutdown for “a very long time” via twitter:

CBS News is offering “live updates” on the ongoing negotiations and potential resolution.

In past years, the federal government has generally “made whole” the employees who missed work due to office closures or furloughs, but that it not obligated under any federal law. The potential for thousands of area workers to suddenly and permanently miss paychecks would have a more lasting effect on area revenues and services.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties