Friday, April 8, 2011

Federal Government Shutdown: What You Need to Know

Robert Ivy
EVP/Chief Executive Officer
The American Institute of Architects

Dear Colleagues:

As you no doubt know from news reports, Congressional leaders and President Obama have failed so far to agree on a budget in time to avert a shut-down of the federal government, scheduled to begin at midnight tonight. Congress has not sent any of its fiscal year 2011 appropriations bills to the President because of disagreements over spending levels. Unless an agreement between negotiators is reached - and that could happen at any time - the last continuing resolution on the 2011 budget expires at the end of the day today, and the government is officially closed for business beginning tomorrow, Saturday, April 9.

Anticipating questions about such an event, the AIA government relations team assembled a comprehensive list of answers to questions most on the minds of members. This set of FAQs contains as much information as we know at this time. We'll update them as more information becomes available from various federal authorities and agencies.

Rest assured that while the federal government may be closed, we are not. The AIA is open, fully functioning and available to meet your needs.

It has been 15 years since the federal government experienced a shutdown. As another shutdown looms, there are lots of questions about how it will affect all Americans, especially those who work with (and for) the federal government. If your projects receive federal funding, will they have to stop? If you are a federal contractor, what should you be doing?

Much remains unclear about what happens after a possible shutdown, including the processes and procedures that individuals and companies doing business with the government will face. In order to help AIA members through the confusion, the AIA Federal Relations team has launched a Web page to provide up-to-date information about any shutdown that may occur and what you need to do.

We also encourage you to read the Angle for updates on government activity, and follow the federal relations team on Twitter @aialobbyist.

For more information, contact

Shutdown 101: FAQ

What is a government shutdown?

A government shutdown occurs when Congress and the President fail to approve and enact into law funding for federal agencies. The federal government operates on an Oct. 1-Sept. 30 fiscal year. Each year Congress must pass and send to the President a series of appropriations bills that fund most government agencies and programs. If an agency does not have its funding signed into law by Oct. 1, Congress can pass a so-called continuing resolution that extends the prior year’s funding levels for a short time until a full-year appropriations bill can pass. If the President does not sign either a continuing resolution bill or a full-year appropriation, the affected agency or agencies must cease operations except for essential services.

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