Posted January 22, 2018 by Brian Stults in Research - Reports

Government Shutdown – WHSA Response


January 19, 2018

As you know, Congress could not come to agreement and thus a government shutdown has ensued. While there is great lack of clarity as to the effect of this shutdown, here are key points to remember based upon our current experience and knowledge of government shutdowns…

You are NOT a unit of the federal government, and your employees are not federal employees, so you can continue to operate and are not subject to a general order to shut down.

When the federal government closes, all federal employees are furloughed. The exclusions to this are those who are determined to be “essential”. The exclusions include a huge number of job categories. This amounts to the full military; air traffic controllers to keep planes flying; and others so designated. the Office of Head Start employees have not been determined to be “essential” in past shutdowns. If this is again the case, their offices will be empty and their phones will not be answered.

In the past, the federal folks operating the cash disbursements portion of the federal government have been determined to be essential. As long as the Payment Management System is up and running and you can draw down cash, you should be able to draw down your money, pay your obligations to staff and vendors and continue operation.

Vulnerable are those agencies whose new grant becomes due during a shutdown. For instance, a lengthy shut down would mean that a February 1 grantee would not be funded until the shutdown ends and OHS feds come back to work.

These points could change should the administration or others choose to change the rules related to this potential shutdown.

Questions? Ask and we will seek to give you the best information possible.


Tim Nolan and Carol Jackomino, Co-chairs Advocacy workgroup

Barb Tengesdal, Executive Director

Wisconsin Head Start Association