The NCSL Blog


By Molly Ramsdell

Vice President Mike Pence rushed to the Capitol to meet with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, searching for a plan to break an impasse that Mr. Trump has shown little interest in defusing.Credit: Erin Schaff for The New York TimesDisagreement over the president’s $5 billion request for a border wall has resulted in an impasse on the passage of the remaining FY 2019 spending bills and a partial federal shutdown.

The agencies affected – including the departments of State, Homeland Security, Commerce, Agriculture, Transportation, Interior, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)– account for about 25 percent, approximately $325 billion, of total discretionary funding. In September a $855.1 billion omnibus spending package was signed into law, and a smaller spending package earlier that month, which accounts for the other 75 percent of FY 2019 discretionary spending.

The impact of the shutdown varies by department. For some departments, like Justice and Homeland Security, many employees are exempt and not subject to the furlough. This is not the case in other departments.  It has been reported that as many as 380,000 employees in total will be furloughed with another 420,000 working without pay. 

At least one agency, the EPA, is reporting it has enough funds to remain open for at least a week.

It is also important to note that programs operated by multiple departments, one with funding and one without, could also be at-risk.

For more information, see specific agency contingency plans or this FAQ During a Lapse in Appropriations.

At the moment, there are no signs as to when an agreement will be reached.  Stay tuned.

Molly Ramsdell is the director of NCSL's Washington, D.C., office.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.