Cabinet secretaries and federal agency heads have begun briefing their employees on what to expect in the increasingly likely event of a government shutdown. According to a Q&A distributed yesterday, and obtained by the Washington Post, employees won’t be able to work voluntarily, and those who do work will only be paid if Congress later approves that pay. Workers won’t be able to take paid leave, even if it was already scheduled. Some workers could also be eligible for unemployment.
Members of the military wouldn’t be paid, either, though House Republicans have introduced a bill to keep those checks flowing if a pay deal isn’t reached. Officials familiar with the plans say a host of government services would be disrupted by the shutdown. The IRS, for example, would stop processing paper-submitted tax returns, the FHA would stop guaranteeing home loans, and Homeland Security would stop verifying workers’ immigration statuses. Lawmakers, meanwhile, have until Friday to pick which of their staff members will work through an impasse.