US Federal agencies will run out of the funding that’s approved by Congress at the end of the fiscal year, on 30 September. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 20th) has failed repeatedly to pass a funding plan, with considerable opposition within his party rebuffing his efforts and bringing the federal government ever-closer to a federal shutdown. This Friday, the White House is expected to order federal agencies to cease operations on the following Sunday.
Of all the millions of Americans who are concerned about the coming termination of their services, the large population of Social Security payment recipients need not worry. Back in August, Shalanda Young, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, received a letter detailing the contingency plan of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to continue activities during a potential lapse in Federal appropriations and the resulting partial shutdown of agency operations.
According to the letter, out of the 61,869 agency employees, only 8,512 will be furloughed, leaving 53,357 employees on hand. The agency anticipates the return of approximately 53,000 employees from furloughs, in accordance with the applicable exceptions outlined in the Antideficiency Act, which on the whole prevents the incurring of obligations or the making of expenditures above the amounts available in appropriations or funds.
The roles and responsibilities of these exempted employees will include, most notably, support staff for the critical aspects of the SSA information technology (IT) programmatic applications and infrastructure, as well as staff dedicated to bolstering efforts in fraud prevention – “to ensure the timely and accurate disbursement of benefits to the public.”
According to the SSA, the agency will be able to continue the above operations through the next 18 months, or April 1, 2025. Let’s hope the budget crisis does not extend this long, especially since the November 2024 elections and even the inauguration of the next President of the United States are scheduled to take place before those 18 months are over.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are leading the charge against Speaker McCarthy’s efforts to keep the federal government in business. The Speaker’s Republican foes are refusing to work with him on passing any funding bills without deep budget cuts. All they need to block his bills are five votes, and they appear to be gaining even more.
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