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.

Agency Total employees Furloughed Share of employees
Housing and Urban Development 7,800 7,500 96%
Environmental Protection Agency 14,400 13,700 95
Education 3,900 3,700 95
Commerce 47,900 41,600 87
Labor 15,400 12,800 83
Interior 70,400 56,600 80
Treasury 88,000 48,500 55
Health and Human Services 81,900 41,000 50
Defense (civilian workforce) 740,000 370,000 50
Transportation 55,200 20,500 37
Justice 114,600 19,500 17
Social Security Administration 63,200 10,400 16
Homeland Security 241,400 31,200 13
Veterans Affairs 377,000 15,900 4

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 enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.