HomeWashington Letter2019 ▶ Partial Government Shutdown Continues
Partial Government Shutdown Continues

The partial federal government shutdown is set to enter its third week. No resolution is yet in sight, as Congress and President Trump have failed to come to an agreement on border wall funding and the finalization of 2019 spending bills. The House of Representatives passed a bill on Jan. 3, 2019, the first day of the new 116th Congress, that would fund and reopen all government departments immediately except for the Department of Homeland Security, which would be funded until Feb. 8, 2019, but the Senate leadership has refused to consider the bill after the President issued a veto threat. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated that the Senate will not consider a government spending measure until the President indicates his support for a bill. Two Senate Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), are calling for an end to the shutdown in the absence of agreement on border wall funding.

The partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22, 2018 when funding for nine government departments overseeing, among other agencies, the EPA, FDA, Indian Health Service, Housing, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Homeland Security ran out. Most of the staff of these agencies are on unpaid furlough, while some staff deemed “essential employees” are working without pay. The NIH, CDC and most health agencies, apart from the FDA, are unaffected by the shutdown because the health spending bill enacted in late October 2018 guaranteed their FY2019 budgets. Because the NIEHS’s Superfund Research program, which studies the effects of hazardous substances on human health, is funded through the Interior Department, it, along with EPA research programs, is also shut down. Twelve NIEHS employees, including scientists, are on furlough.

Last Reviewed: January 4, 2019