OMB Tells Agencies to Begin Executing Shutdown Plans

The Office of Management and Budget has instructed agencies to begin carrying out their shutdown contingency plans.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told federal agencies in a memo today to begin carrying out their shutdown plans since Congress appeared to not be getting anywhere in their negotiations.

“Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations,” wrote Mulvaney in the January 20 memo. It was sent to the heads of federal agencies.

A copy of Mulvaney’s memo is included at the end of this article.

How Many Federal Employees Will Be Furloughed?

Should the shutdown carry into next week, federal employees who are deemed non-essential (a.k.a. non-excepted) as defined by the Office of Personnel Management will be furloughed. Estimates are that this was around 850,000 at the peak of the 2013 partial government shutdown.

The table below from the New York Times offers some indication of how many federal employees would get furloughed at some of the major federal agencies. See the full article for a breakdown of what services would be interrupted within each agency.

AgencyTotal employeesFurloughedShare of employees
Housing and Urban Development7,8007,50096%
Environmental Protection Agency14,40013,70095
Health and Human Services81,90041,00050
Defense (civilian workforce)740,000370,00050
Social Security Administration63,20010,40016
Homeland Security241,40031,20013
Veterans Affairs377,00015,9004

Source: New York Times


From: Mick Mulvaney
Office of Management and Budget

Subject: Status of Agency Operations

Appropriations provided under the Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 (Division D of P.L. 115-96, as amended) expired at 11:59 pm, January 19, 2018.

Unfortunately, we do not have a clear indication that the Congress will act in time for the President to sign a Continuing Resolution before the end of the day tomorrow. Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations. We urge the Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.

Agencies should continue to closely monitor developments, and OMB will provide further guidance as appropriate. We greatly appreciate your cooperation and the work you and your agencies do on behalf of the American people.

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.