FCC Issues Plan for Possible Government Shutdown

Posted on September 30th, 2015 by

While Congress considers passing legislation to continue funding government operations after September 30, government agencies have dusted off shutdown plans from the 2013 government shutdown so that they are ready in the event Congress cannot pass a continued funding resolution. The FCC issued their “Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations” on Monday.

The FCC’s plan is about three-and-one-half pages long, with the shutdown of agency operations taking about four hours. The Chairman and four Commissioners will continue to be paid during the shutdown because their compensation comes from resources other than annual appropriations. In addition, another 120 employees working on TV Incentive Auction related issues will also continue to work because their compensation funding is also from resources other than annual appropriations. Finally, a few “essential” personnel will be retained to protect life and property, conduct interference detection, carry out treaty activity, conduct oversight and address critical information technology issues. Everyone else will be furloughed and sent home.

No detail is provided in the plan as to whether FCC information systems will continue to be available during a shutdown. However, in the 2013 shutdown, those systems were unavailable, and we expect that will be the same if a shutdown occurs this year. For TV licensees, that means your online public file will not be available, and quarterly reports that must be filed by October 10th will not be able to be filed (or drafted). The FCC will provide guidance on these matters after any shutdown ends.