As anyone who had turned on TV, listened to the radio, looked at the Internet or read a newspaper knows, the Federal government ran out of money at midnight on Friday, and news outlets are calling it a government shutdown. But, unlike shutdowns in the past where all agencies closed their doors at the same time (see our articles here, here and here), not all agencies will be closed for business on Monday, even if no settlement is reached before then. The FCC on Friday announced that they had sufficient funds to keep running normally through the coming week, seemingly postponing closing until after business is done on January 26. We have even heard that FCC auctions (including the upcoming filing window for FM translators for AM stations) may be funded differently than the rest of the agency, and may continue even if there is no resolution to the shutdown, though we will have to wait for official confirmation that the filing window will go on.
Other Federal agencies with which media companies regularly deal need to check with the agency to see what their status is. The Copyright Office has an announcement on its website that it is closed and its website frozen in the same form that it had at midnight on Friday. By contrast, the Patent and Trademark Office states on its website that it has sufficient funds from prior appropriations to continue to function “for a few weeks.” The FAA is slightly more vague – saying that it will continue to perform only “exempt functions” but, other than to say that airport controllers and security will remain functioning, there is no definition as to what exempt functions include. The FTC website is totally silent about the shutdown (we understand that they will be shut down, but no statement appears on their website, so watch for more information). So if there is no resolution of the impasse over government funding, and you have business with the Federal government on Monday, find out from the agency what their status is, and how the shut-down is affecting them.