Sept. 30, 2013— -- Every single government department and agency -- from the U.S. Postal Service to the Department of Education to the Environmental Protection Agency to NASA -- have been bracing for the immediate effects of a government shutdown after Democrats and Republicans failed to reach a deal on how to fund the government.
According to government estimates, 800,000 of the more than 2 million federal workers could be furloughed during the shutdown, and the offices that employ them have released contingency plans noting how many employees would be forced to stay home and how many would be "excepted."
Many of the memos indicate that federal officials were preparing for -- and likely hoping for -- a relatively short shutdown. The plan released by the Department of Justice, for example, assumes a five-day funding hiatus.
"Depending upon the actual duration of the shutdown," the planning document notes, "the Department may need to revisit the plan and submit an amended version."
All of the documents are posted on the Office of Management and Budget's website.
ABC News has put together a list of key departments and agencies. Where possible we note the number and percentage of employees from each that would be furloughed:
Total Employees: 46,420
Number Furloughed: 40,234
% Furloughed: 87
The Commerce Department is an umbrella agency that deals with a diverse array of topics ranging from the Census to the National Weather Service. In the event of a government shutdown, the divisions facing the brunt of the Commerce Department's contingency plans are those dealing with business and economics. The Economic Development Administration, International Trade Administration and Census Bureau are three such sub-agencies whose services will not be available if a government shutdown occurs. On the other hand, activities such as weather forecasting, fishery management, and patent and trademark application processing will not be affected. All told, the DOC would need to furlough 40,234 of its 46,420 employees, leaving only 13 percent of its workforce in the office.
-- Alexander Lazar
Military members will show up for word during the shutdown and get paid when Congress pushes through the appropriations bill. About half the DOD civilians will also show up for work and get the retroactive payments when Congress passes the appropriations bill. The other half of the civilian workforce will be furloughed and receive no pay. However, historically during previous shutdowns the Congress has passed legislation that pays these employees retroactively.
Total Employees: 4,225
Number Furloughed: 3,983
% Furloughed: 94
One of the departments hit the hardest in the case of a shutdown would be Education, with 94 percent of the 4,225 full and part-time employees set to be furloughed. With many school districts receiving more than 20 percent of their funds from Department-funded programs, education grants would be affected, as would a number of disability and disadvantaged student programs funded by Higher Education funds.
Total Employees: 13,814
Number Furloughed: 9,595
% Furloughed: 69.46
According to the Department of Energy's contingency plan released on Friday, "If a Departmental element does not have functions related to the safety of human life and the protection of property, all functions performed by that element will close if there is a lapse in appropriations." That means that, of DOE's 13,814 total employees, 69 percent (or 9,595 government workers) are expected to be furloughed. Of the non-furloughed, 1,113 are excepted employees under various conditions, and 3,106 are paid through other means and thus not affected by a shutdown. However, all Presidentially Appointed, Senate-Confirmed employees will continue to come to work.
Total Employees: 16,205
Number Furloughed: 15,592
% Furloughed: 96.15
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy recently told the Associated Press that the agency would "effectively shut down" if the federal government shuts down. According to the AP: "[The] agency won't be able to pay employees. She says only a core group of people will remain on duty in case the EPA has to respond to a 'significant emergency.' The vast majority of employees will stay home. That means that most of EPA's functions, like drafting regulations and enforcing laws to protect the environment, will likely remain stalled until government operations fully resume." The agency's contingency plan released last week, revealed the exact number of employees that would staff the large agency in the event of a shutdown. According to the document, just 613 employees would remain on staff at the EPA. The agency normally employees 16,205 workers, but in the event of a government shutdown, would be forced to furlough approximately 96.15% of its staff.
For the nation's highest court, business will continue as per usual if a shutdown occurs--at least until Friday, October 4. According to a notice posted on the Supreme Court website, "In the event of a lapse of appropriations, the Court will continue to conduct its normal operations through October 4. The Court building will be open to the public during its usual hours. Further notice will be provided in the event a lapse of appropriations continues beyond October 4." Interestingly, the Court is scheduled to hear the first arguments of the new term the following Monday, on October 7.
--Ariane De Vogue
Total Employees: 78,198
Number Furloughed: 40,512
% Furloughed: 52
More than half of the Department of Health and Human Service's workforce (52% or 40,512 people) would be furloughed as a result of a government shutdown. Crucial agencies within HHS such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health will still be operating, but only on a minimal basis. For example, NIH would not be able to accept new patients unless they are labeled as "medically necessary," and the CDC would not be able to lend support to the seasonal influenza program. Also of potential concern is that food safety and nutrition activities would not be supported by the Food and Drug Administration during a shutdown.