Another Government Shutdown? It’s Being Discussed

Another government shutdown? Apparently it could happen if demands over funding the border wall aren’t met. What would a partial shutdown mean to your pay and benefits?

Reports of a possible government shutdown have surfaced today, but this time it isn’t about health care, it’s about the border wall.

Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), sent a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in which they warned against including funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall.

Senate Democrats wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the Associated Press, “We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of (wall) funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s administration.”

The letter also warned Republicans against adding any provisions to cut things such as protections for veterans or the environment, and specifically said that efforts to defund Planned Parenthood were off limits.

The shutdown debate has arisen in advance of an upcoming spending package Congress must pass next month to fund the government. April 28 is the deadline for Congress to complete the spending measure and avoid a partial government shutdown.

The last government shutdown took place in 2013 when Republicans tried to strip funding for ObamaCare from a spending bill.

Congress came close to another one last year, but Senate Democrats ultimately relented. The dispute was over benefits for coal miners; a small group of Democrats from coal-mining states were trying to obtain additional benefits for the miners but Republicans had refused to go along.

Pay and Benefits During a Partial Government Shutdown

Shutdowns impact pay and benefits for federal employees in different ways.

For federal employees who are furloughed, whether or not they get paid is determined by Congress. During the 2013 shutdown, federal employees were paid, although they likely saw a delay from their normal pay date until the shutdown was over.

A recent class action lawsuit awarded back pay to some federal employees impacted by the 2013 shutdown.

OPM has provided detailed guidance on what happens to your pay and benefits during a partial government shutdown.

For federal retirees, their annuity payments are not stopped by a shutdown.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.