- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
D.C. plans to defy potential federal government shutdown
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray declared the District’s intent to defy a possible federal government shutdown by deeming all employees essential personnel — but it’s unclear how far other city leaders will push the rebellion.
The District’s defiant contingency plan, which seeks to keep the city’s roughly 30,000 employees at work in the event of a federal government shutdown Oct. 1, was submitted Wednesday to the federal director of the Office of Budget and Management. The office, which is responsible for providing executive branch agencies with instructions on how to prepare for and operate during a shutdown, has not commented on the plan.
“I am writing to inform you that I have determined that all operations of the government of the District of Columbia are ‘excepted’ activities essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property and therefore will continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations,” Mr. Gray wrote.
Because the District is a federal enclave, its budget is tied to the federal appropriations process, leaving the District vulnerable if lawmakers in Congress fail to resolve their differences over a federal spending plan.
But the assertion that all government functions are essential appears to defy the federal Antideficiency Act that mandates a shutdown if a budget agreement is not reached.
“As the Antideficiency Act states, emergency exception does not authorize the continuation of ongoing, regular functions of government, the suspension of which would not imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property,” according to documents issued by the budget office for shutdown preparation.
Violation of the law puts government employees and officials at risk for fines and jail time. Mr. Gray’s spokesman, Pedro Ribeiro, said officials plan to deal with any federal opposition, “when we get to it.”
Though several D.C. Council members have expressed support to defy the federal government in the face of a shutdown, it was unclear whether the officials who hold the city’s purse strings would agree to fund operations.
Estimating that it costs between $17 million and $19 million a day to keep the D.C. government and services open, the office of the chief financial officer declined to comment on whether it would cut the checks.
“We’re looking to the attorney general for guidance,” spokeswoman Natalie Wilson said.
In the meantime, the office of D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, which provides city leaders legal advice on the matter, isn’t talking.
“We aren’t going to speculate now about possible eventualities,” spokesman Ted Gest said.
Under previous plans, which were last rolled out in 2011 amid concern over a government shutdown, some employees such as public safety workers, teachers at the city’s schools, and health inspectors could have stayed on the job.
Other basic city services would have been suspended with libraries and the Department of Motor Vehicles closed and trash collection halted.
The last time the city government shut down was in 1995. But it was spared a second shutdown that year when Congress passed legislation allowing the District to spend its own money when the federal government shut down.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Vincent Gray's scandals promise to tangle D.C. mayoral campaign
- D.C. Mayor Gray opts to run for re-election in D.C.
- Pair stole thousands in Salvation Army red-kettle donations: D.C. police
- Gray to seek second term as D.C. mayor
- Ellerbe names an outsider as assistant D.C. fire chief for operations
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Angry NTSB ousts railroad union from N.Y. train crash site
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- HURT: Postal Service misses address by a whole continent
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Wingate University on lockdown after 2 shot dead
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?
Despite cynicism about the law, it can provide you justice, protection, and ensure your rights.