Special Potential Government Shutdown Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Vileinist

“Dear PoP,

Sounds like this government shutdown thing might actually happen. A lot of people in DC are going to be out of work for an undetermined amount of time.. It might be nice to have a special Rants/Raves post about this boondoggle.”

Are you going to be affected by a shutdown? What have your offices told you about a potential shutdown?

116 Comment

  • Any government shutdown should be a real, complete shutdown: Coast Guard, Social Security Checks, farm subsidies, air traffic control… Let the “all government if bad” folks make their decision against the backdrop of the world they claim to want.

    On another not — Monday afternoon bash at the Derby for all of us furloughed bureaucrats?

    • Please no air traffic control shutdown! If the govt shuts down I’m taking a vacation.

    • Completely agree. I would like the naive people of this country to know everything that the evil government provides to them. A nice start would be not processing their tax returns. No Social Security checks, no Medicare, and no Medicaid. We’ll see how long that lasts.

      As a Federal employee, I am sick of the Republican party lying about deficits to pass their policy arguments. You’ve got Wisconsin slashing taxes so they can bust unions. You’ve got Congress quibbling over $30 billion in spending when they just passed hundreds of billions in tax cuts to the rich (and yes, an extension of unemployment aid). If the policies that the Repulicans are what the people want, then why use smoke and mirrors to pass them? Say you want to eliminate all unions, privatize Medicare, and ban abortion. If that’s truly what the people want, then you’ll get support and get reelected. Unfortunatly it’s not and once again you’ve got an ideological minority trying to use half-truths and distortion to convince the idiots who comment on the Washington Post website that it’s best for the country.

      And lowly Federal employees like me are suddenly caught in the middle.

      • Just curious how the Republican Party is lying about deficits. Other than a few green eyeshade folks in Congress, there’s pretty widespread agreement that A) we are headed to 120% debt-to-GDP within the next 5 years and B) that level is completely unsustainable.

        I’m not trying to be disagreeable, but those facts are pretty clear and concerning.

        • Right, and how much of that deficit is a result of discretionary spending, which is what everyone is quibbling about? Entitlements and Defense spending are the REAL issues, not outlays to the IRS, HUD, unemployment benefits or whatever.

          • no kidding.. its these wars that are killing us.. alot of these people in these countries we are “saving” are more rich than 90 percent of the people in our country do to oil fields.. solution? just charge all them for us to go help them.. at least pay what it costs to help thier asses.. and a big prob. solved, we are america and we stand for our beliefs and want to help, but were do we draw the line?

    • I completely agree. Government is awful? Fine. Shut everything down, and let me know how that works out.

    • I sort of agree, people won’t really notice unless stuff that directly affects them is impacted. And what is “great” is that all the tourists that are in DC (and will be in DC) aren’t going to be able to do much of anything of the free tourist variety.

      Last time this happened my mom (not in DC) didn’t think it was too bad until I pointed out there there were a lot of mom and pop business that relied on government worker who were also tax payers.

    • Is air traffic control seriously non-excepted?

  • “all government IS bad…”

    “on another notE”

    gotta remember that there’s no editing and proof before I post.

    • Rant: Federal Gmnt employee and DC Resident. I so won’t get paid and my city won’t have a budget. Great. Oh, and there’s no sense in complaining to my Representative because she as no vote.
      Rave: If it is for a day or two I can tackle some home improvement projects, but I don’t want it to last more than that.

      I already have cut back on spending to prepare.

  • rave: gov’t shutdown might mean my workload becomes manageable.

    rant: if congress lived in the real world they’d all be fired. we should sack all of these inept and greedy a-holes.

  • I am poised to file for DC unemployment: https://does.dcnetworks.org/initialclaims/

    Have your SF-50 ready!

    • Sorry my friend.

      I have a feeling you are not going to get / qualify for unemployment, nor should you, in my opinion, considering your bosses would be “temporarily” closing it down by choice.

      That kind of defeats their goal of budget busting in the first place don’t you think.

      • From: http://www.does.dc.gov/does/cwp/view,a,1232,q,537869.asp

        In addition to wage requirements, you must also meet the following requirements:

        * You must be unemployed through no fault of your own.
        * You must be available for work. This means that you must be ready and willing to accept work considered suitable for you because of your past training, education, or experience.
        * You must be physically able to work. You cannot collect benefits while you are sick, injured, or disabled.
        * You must make at least two job contacts each week.
        * You must make a personal and continuing effort each week to attain gainful employment, using methods that are customary for your occupation. (You may be asked by your Employment Services Center to demonstrate your work search activities, so you should keep a record of such efforts.)

      • According to the OPM guidance which we have been sent repeatedly since last week we could actually qualify for unemployment:

        55. Q. Are employees entitled to unemployment compensation while on furlough?
        A. It is possible that employees may be eligible for unemployment compensation, especially if they are on consecutive furlough days. State unemployment compensation requirements differ. Agencies or employees should submit their questions to the appropriate State office.


    • I’ve got my MD forms ready.

    • Do you think we will get an SF-50 showing our unemployment or do you think some other form will be a substitute? I plan to file for unemployment as well.

  • Well, they won’t shut down “Essential Services”…which kinda makes me wonder why they don’t just eliminate the other stuff permanently.

    • Non essential does not mean not valuable or needed. I consider museums, environmental protection, keeping nukes away from terrorists, school lunch programs, national parks and other programs ESSENTIAL to a functioning society.

      • yeah, I agree. I’m fairly certain the term “essential” in this case is just pulled from COOP lanugage meaning it can’t be down for more than 12 hours or something.

      • They aren’t using “essential” and “non-essential” this time around. It’s “excepted” and “non-excepted.”

    • Well there are a lot of people that will be deemed essential to ensure the physical safety of buildings and systems so by that measure those people should be eliminated permanently as well as they wouldn’t have place of work to guard…..

  • Everyone in DC should be used to a government shutdown by now… Vince Gray’s been in office at least 3 months now.

  • I just have to say that I’m pissed off at both sides of the aisle over this. There is plenty of blame to go around. Not only are the Republicans shooting themselves in the foot, but Obama is one of the weakest presidents ever and has been a huge disappointment for most of the people who helped elect him.

    • The republicans have definitely contributed to this mess by being so stubborn, but let’s not forget that none of this would have happened is the Democrats passed a budget last year when they controlled 100% of the government.

      • That would have been quite difficult (albeit not impossible) with the always imminent filibuster threat from the other aisle.

    • Republicans wanted $32 billion in cuts. Obama compromised to $33 billion. Now the tea partier freshman are demanding a shutdown regardless.

      The GOP/TEA are the only ones to blame in this. With tax cuts for millionaires, a war of choice in Iraq and wasting the surplus Clinton created, this is not a mess of Democratic making.

  • They’ve told us next to nothing.

    I’ll be conducting a daily sit-in outside of John Boehner’s Speakers office and otherwise occupying the Capitol ala Madison.

    Resist the Republican underlords!

  • at least you bureaucrats will get back pay when this thing blows over. Contractor? Enjoy your furlough.

    • There’s no guarantee that federal employees will receive back pay when all is said and done.

    • Actually… contractors at our agency will be able to work through the shutdown onsite and it’s highly unlikely that feds will get paid back for the time we’re out… it would take an act of congress and my gut tells me they won’t want to pass any further spending bills. Plus, who cares about government workers 🙁

      Aside from that… this whole thing is just sad. It will waste more money and cause more inefficiency. And people wonder why the government is inefficient?!?! Oh, I don’t know, we have no money for most of the year and then it trickles in but there’s a threat of huge cuts to programs so you don’t want to do too much, and then we get it and need to spend like crazy just in time to wait another six months for congress to do it’s job… totally sane way to run the government!

    • What exactly makes you think that anyone is getting back pay for this? It should be the other way round with contractors still having to pay their employees even if they can’t physically do any work. At least that’s the case with the contractors that I know.

      And so far as I know, there will be no back pay. They will just space out the furlough days to limit how much people’s paychecks are affected.

      • claire

        Depends on the contract. As a contractor, I’ve heard from my company that I will not be getting paid in the event of a government shutdown and have the choice of taking leave without pay or using my vacation time. Not happy about this. I’ve been trying really hard to save up as I don’t make a whole lot in the first place and the government shutting down would quickly eat away at those savings.

      • My understanding is that during the last gov shutdown in the 90’s – contractors didn’t get back pay but fed employees did. Not really sure if that would be the case this time though.

    • I’m a contractor and we’ve received no word on what would happen to us in the event of a government shutdown.

      • I’ve spent the last few weeks talking to my contracting firm about pay. They remain uncertain, as do my supervisors. I guess I’ll just wait for a surprise…but I do know if I log into the system they can fire me. No work, no pay is my bet.

    • Not necessarily. And considering the political environment I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it doesn’t happen.

      And just so you know, I can only enjoy my furlough for as long as my mortgage and all the bills that will still come due can get paid. All that with no income. Yeah and I should be content? happy? pathetically gratful?


  • Rant: I am a government contractor so I get screwed twice! Can’t work and won’t get back pay. Since government shutdown was a possibility back in January I have been saving more than I usually do so that I can continue to pay my mortgage, my bills, feed myself and not blow through my savings.

    Rave: As someone who works in a museum thanks goes out to Andy(2) for thinking they are essential!

  • To what extent can this affect people’s personal finances? Could someone who is up to date on their bills an mortgage prior to the shutdown get get fined / go to collections / get foreclosed on if they are not being paid while the government is shutdown?

    • I think this answer is yes… just like anyone else who is fired, we’re all still expected to meet financial responsibilities. Thank goodness it’s only temporary… at least for those who’s programs survive the cuts.

    • Yes. You are responsible for paying your debts no matter what your employer does. Though debt collection activity doesn’t really get going until you are 60 days past due. Time to dip into that rainy day savings/emergency fund.

  • Contractor here, God bless my fee based not tax payer funded agency. There’s a good chance we won’t shutdown, we didn’t in the 90s and I’m hold on to that.

  • I work on an economic indicator and we wouldn’t be deemed essential either (even though we were for the snow storm ugh). If this goes on for more than one day and releases are effected, it could change production and workload for 3 months. I def do not want this to happen

  • Shame no one has used this as an opportunity to organize a protest. A big old non-partisan squat on the mall with all the displaced folks gently suggesting that the powers that be go ahead and figure things out ASAP.

    If it stretches on, those of us who won’t be able to pay rent can build a tent-city without fear of the park police, right?

  • Rant – They already cut my husband’s book…this little thing called the Statistical Abstract of the United States
    .. basically the statistics bible. Now they want to put him out of work top of it all.

    Rave – I just used John Boehner’s face (cover of a magazine) as toilet paper.

  • This whole situation is so ridiculous…politicians on both sides acting like petulant children trying to advance their own agendas at the expense of normal people trying to make a living. And either way of course they will still get paid just like they still get their COLAs.

    It is also especially sad that the Republican/Tea Partiers are using the GOP budget packages as ways to force their conservative agendas on the District. I can’t believe we elected these people…oh wait…

  • Rant: Come on, let’s be honest. The tea partiers are crazy. Why is anyone actually listening to them? John Boehner, I’m talking to you. I’m not a fan of the moderate Republicans either, but I feel like if they just told the Tea Partiers to shove it, they could get stuff done with the Dems.

    Rave: Maybe everyone will realize how inept Congress is, and vote for people with brains (on both sides) next election.

    • That would require approximately 468 people with brains to actually want to run for Congress. Usually, those with brains are the ones who stay out of politics (or become lawyers/lobbyists and learn how to manipulate those in office)

  • So does DC government shut down too? Does that mean no licenses, permits, deeds, inspections, etc.?

  • PoP should do a special post about which restaurants will do an 11 am happy hour on Monday after government offices have finished their shutdown procedures and closed up.

  • Rant: Like others, I’m worried I won’t get back pay for my government job, and I’m fresh out of school. Luckily, I’ve saved up some cash – but it’s literally the only savings I have to my name.

    Rave: My friend and I have decided we’re going to spend any time off writing books. I never finished my National Novel Writing Month endeavor last year. Seems like as good a time as any to pick that back up?

    Strange, strange time to be a first-year fed.

    • What about your TSP?

      • Good point. I’ve been putting 16% away in there during the 7 months I’ve been on the job. I guess I’ve just compartmentalized that as money I won’t touch ’til retirement. I’d like to keep it that way – but it’s nice to know I have it if things got really terrible.

        • You are well informed. Don’t touch it unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. It is an extremely important component of your FERS retirement, and one day you will be glad you saved as much as you are.

          • Right? Of course, if the Ryan 2012 budget plan hemorrhages government jobs like I suspect it will, I’ll be out of a job (and attendant TSP benefits) faster than you can say “last hired, first fired.”

            Oh well. I’ve grown up lucky. Might do me some good to tough through unemployment like all too many of my friends have.

  • If we get shut down, you will find me outside the Capitol building protesting (any suggestions for catchy sign slogans?)

  • Oh please. You know the old expression “good enough for government work,”? Most of the feds I come in contact with every day are lazy, useless and arrogant. We will be just fine with a shut down.

    • I can think of 535 government employees that aren’t doing their jobs right now…

    • I don’t know if you’re lazy, but you’re definitely useless and you sound pretty arrogant.

    • Apparently you’re forgetting that those are people with debts, bills, etc. Or maybe you just don’t care about that.

    • Thanks for generalizing. I’ve spent years in the private sector and years in the Federal government. There are lazy, useless, and arrogant people in all of them. My current Federal office is the most intelligent, hard-working group I’ve ever worked with. So I’m glad that you hate us and cheer for us to not get paid next week.

    • the phrase actually means something that is good enough for the strict regulations and criteria that the government used to demand. it was a high compliment.

    • You’re an idiot and there are probably thousands of government employees who could your job better than you and are smarter than you.

  • I heard their will be a shutdown, and they will know by Friday. I am a contractor to the government so it will effect me and my family. I was told we would have to take our sick leave during the shutdown, or go without pay. Actually, i have a business trip leaving Sunday, which I am kind of dreading. But its better than not getting paid!

  • Like I said…occupy the capitol a la Madison.

  • Rave: I qualify as essential personnel and will be at work either way.

    Rant: Lots more work for me taking up the slack of the non-essential personnel.

  • You know how much non-Washingtonians love to hate Washingtonians? It is now time to wave it in their faces.

    Can we use time off as an opportunity?

    I propose each of us p.o’d by the government shutdown contact *two* friends who vote (by phone, email, in other states, etc.) each day of the shutdown, just two.

    Frame this inept government time/free time as you need to.

    Can we discuss who to vote for and why next election?

    If you do it, I will…

    • So as Washingtonians, we say we hate the rest of the United States? Do we just start heckling tourists?

      Yes, use this time off to volunteer for the Green Party…

      And yes, I’ll start by calling my GOP cousins and saying no Christmas this year because they voted for people who put me out of a work.

  • Contractor here. No word yet on what’s happening. I had to take around 4 days without pay during the blizzards last year. I imagine something like that might happen again.

  • I don’t understand how this is suppose to work. If there is no productivity doesn’t the government loses, espically if each employee gets paid after the fact?

    • That’s where they get you…they aren’t planning on paying furloughed workers after the fact.

      (although they have in the past)

  • through a quirk of human resources magic, i expect to be “essential” while many of my colleagues who do the same work are not.

    Guess I’ll make sure that I have solitaire loaded up and ready to run on Monday morning.

    • It’s comments like this that give credit to Daisy’s BS about government workers… being a fed that actually busts my arse at work and takes seriously the responsibility to be a steward of taxpayer dollars… would you mind NOT playing solitare while you collect our money. Take some initiative and figure out how to get things done if you’re “essential.”

      • + a gazillion!

      • Clearly he is not essential.

        • I acknowledged as much already. I’d rather be home cleaning out the basement rather than having to come to work.

      • I suppose my snide comment above may have been poorly written. I do take my position seriously. What I meant to say was that I work as part of a team, and after about day 3 of a shutdown wouldn’t really be able to do any “real” work since all of the other members of my team would be home.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Not related to the shutdown but a reader writes:

    This morning at 6:38am, someone managed to pull $500 out of my Capital One checking account at an ATM. This happened despite me being sound asleep with the card in my wallet. The Branch Manager at 650 F St. said I was the 4th customer this morning with a fraud issue (which makes me think there’s been a recent increase in this type of situation) The thing is, I likely wouldn’t have noticed this for a few days if I hadn’t stopped to get cash this morning. Two separate ATMs said I had already hit my daily limit on cash withdrawals, which led to me calling the bank etc.

    I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else, but folks should check their bank accounts just in case.

  • Rant: I don’t work for the federal government.

  • I’m planning to steal the Declaration of Independence and follow the treasure map. And then snowmobile on the steps of the Capitol.

  • Seems like an unwise choice of paper stock.

  • Let’s see…the husband and I are both not at work, but the kids are still in school. Meridian Pint? Please open at 11:00 on Monday?

  • I ber Meridian Pint already has plans to open in the morning for the people who lose their jobs..

  • I remember the last shutdown. There was a major art exhibit of Vermeer paintings on a US tour at the National Gallery but it was closed due to the shutdown, as was all of the Smithsonian. By the time the situation was resolved the exhibit had only a week to go before it had to move on. So I lined up in the cold at 3 in the morning to get in before the exhibit left. The line was already circling the block even at that early hour.

  • rave: looking forward to low traffic for monday’s bike ride.

    rant: it won’t be funny at all if the shutdown lasts more than a day or two. smart money on something getting worked out over the weekend. arguing over $12 billion is silly. get going on the real budget issues (defense, entitlements, taxes, and, yes, some discretionary spending). so glad i’m an independent.

  • If you’re like me, and you produce objective economic or scientific statistics or research, or anything else that doesn’t fit in with hard right-wing ideology, I would make very sure that you don’t do anything that could be remotely construed as political in the event of a shutdown.

    Legally, we’re still subject to the Hatch Act and prohibited from outside employment. Assume that the right-wing press and their associated political operatives are out to slander you in the press and suppress your research. It might be paranoid, but in today’s political environment, assuming otherwise would be foolish.

    • I don’t think that’s true. You can take outside employment.

      • Not per the instructions that I’ve seen. No outside employment for me, at least nothing related to the work I’m qualified to do. How am I supposed to pay my bills?

  • so u scumbags are saying I shouldn’t be back paid for going to work working for free and keeping your airplanes from colliding wow u must be out of your minds come try to do this job and I say try cuz 75 percent of you couldn’t hack it, and then do it for free. u make me sick. U people complaining about the government are thinking just like them.. yea punish everyone because a few people are screwing it up damn hypacrits

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