Federal shutdown would force San Diego closures, delay wages

The last time the federal government closed, in December 2018, the Cabrillo National Monument closed. Subsidies for social housing, people with disabilities and the elderly have ceased. And federal workers of all stripes – Coast Guard members, correctional officers and TSA officers – have suffered financial hardship because they missed their paychecks.

This shutdown lasted 35 days, but was mitigated by the fact that funding had already been approved when the government ceased operations in December 2018.

This time, no such expenditure has been approved.

Congress is expected to vote on a reduced spending bill Thursday to avoid a shutdown. The fight for the spending bill is just an ongoing battle on Capitol Hill, as Republicans balk at Democrats’ efforts to raise the country’s debt ceiling before the Oct. 18 deadline.

If Congress does not act, the federal government will close its doors at 12:01 am Friday, the first day of the new fiscal year.

The impact on federal workers would vary widely, depending on what they do and how they are funded. Federal workers are guaranteed retroactive salary once the government reopens.

The US Navy is one of the largest employers in San Diego. In addition to the region’s approximately 110,000 active service members, more than 30,000 local civilians are employed by the Department of Defense. The military are exempt from government holidays, but they could find themselves working without pay if Congress does not act.

For civilians employed by the Department of the Navy, which includes Navy civilians, things are more complicated.

A “leave information sheet” emailed to Navy civilians this week lists employees exempt from leave who will be required to work without pay during a stoppage. This includes security forces, medical personnel, training personnel, and morale, welfare and recreation facilities. This means that while the local Navy golf courses will remain, the people who work there may not be paid until the government is funded again.

However, not all local military installations are so dependent on Congress to stay afloat this week.

The Fleet Readiness Center at Naval Air Station North Island, which employs more than 3,000 civilians, has a reserve fund and will continue to operate normally if the government closes its doors, a spokesperson said.

“We really don’t expect this to affect us at all,” said Mike Furlano, spokesperson for FRC Southwest, a major aircraft maintenance facility.

But Furlano added that if the shutdown lasts longer than a month, things could change.

Members of the United States Coast Guard prepare a helicopter for a flight in the United States Coast Guard area in San Diego.

(Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Coast Guard members are also expected to work without pay, as they did in the last stop. The service, which, unlike other military branches, comes under the Department of Homeland Security, experienced a payroll shock in January 2019 when its members missed their mid-month pay.

A closure would not affect the business of federal courthouses in San Diego, said court clerk John Morrill. Court workers were ordered to report to work as usual on Friday, he said, citing information received from the US courts administrative office. Staff would continue to receive their salaries as funds from other judicial accounts become available.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego declined to comment on how he might be affected by a stop. In previous closings, criminal prosecutions have proceeded as usual, but work on many civil cases has been cut back. Administrative staff were also largely on leave.

At the border, a spokesperson for customs and border protection said law enforcement would not be affected. However, other functions of CBP, such as the immigration system, could be, according to the White House. In 2018, immigration courts closed, causing delays in an already busy schedule.

CBP had 64,225 employees as of July 31 and expects to retain 56,884 during a period of non-use of funds. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services had 18,227 as of August 14 and expects to keep 17,959.

“We will take all possible measures to mitigate the impacts of a potential closure on our work in order to build a fair, orderly and humane immigration system, and direct border management efforts would generally continue,” said Abdullah Hasan. , spokesperson for the administration. Management and Budget Office.

“The reality is that shutdowns are incredibly expensive, disruptive and damaging, and that’s why our efforts remain primarily focused on preventing a shutdown.”

UT editors Kristina Davis and Wendy Fry contributed to this report.

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