FCC weathers US government shutdown - Mobile World Live

FCC weathers US government shutdown

22 JAN 2018

The US Federal Communications Commission said it will remain open and pay employees until the end of this week even as other agencies close their doors as part of a temporary government shutdown.

In a statement issued on 19 January, Brian Hart, director of the FCC’s office of media relations, said the commission has funding available to pay staff until at least 26 January, making the commission one of the only federal US government agencies to remain open following a budget dispute in Congress.

Politicians last week failed to come up with a spending bill which would extend funding for the government past 19 January, triggering a temporary shutdown.

During such events, thousands of non-essential employees are instructed not to come to work. In 2013, a similar standoff in Congress led to a 16-day closure during which 800,000 out of 2.1 million civilian staff were affected, The Washington Post reported.

Shutdown plan
The FCC does have a plan for an “orderly” shutdown if Congress doesn’t agree a plan by the end of this week.

In a document released in December, the FCC said it can wind down operations in four hours and would retain just 15 per cent of its personnel to perform essential duties. The remaining 85 per cent would be placed on leave and sent home.

Those who would stay include the five FCC commissioners, 13 employees to protect “life and property”, three tasked with disaster response, four to conduct international and treaty activity in support of the President, and seven information technology staffers. A host of contractors would also remain, including 85 full-time IT contractors needed to support auction-related activity.

Politico reported the Senate was due to vote today (22 January) on a bill to extend government funding until 8 February, but noted the measure’s passage is uncertain.


Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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