[Update – 4/9/2011. Based on the announcement late last night, the Federal government will not be closing on Monday. But the agreement that was reached yesterday still needs to be documented and voted on by the House and Senate. But, barring an unforeseen breakdown in the deal, these shutdown instructions can be shelved – at least temporarily. Congress will be voting on an authorization to extend the Federal debt limit in the next month or so, and will have to approve a fiscal year 2012 budget before the end of the current budget year on September 30. Plenty of possibilities to have to dust off these instructions for use at a later date]
The FCC has just released its plans for an Orderly Shutdown in the event that there is no agreement for funding the government passed by Congress by midnight tonight. As set forth in that plan, FCC employees would arrive at work on Monday for purposes of securing their work premises. Except for a few essential employees, all others would be furloughed, and thus have to turn around and go home. They would not be able to perform any official functions. The FCC’s plan states that the work that could not be performed includes:
Consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines cannot be answered; consumer protection and local competition enforcement must cease; licensing services, including broadcast, wireless, and wireline, must cease; management of radio spectrum and the creation of new opportunities for competitive technologies and services for the American public must be suspended; and equipment authorizations, including those bringing new electronic devices to American consumers, cannot be provided.
Thus, it appears that, if the government shuts down, there will be no filings of pleadings or applications permitted. Travel by government employees would also stop – which may have an impact on events such as next week’s NAB Convention where several FCC employees are scheduled to appear. The plan does make clear that the Chairman is exempt from any furlough, but whether he can travel or speak to the public, or do other nonessential duties, remains to be seen. We will update this entry as more information becomes available – if indeed the government does shut down at midnight tonight.