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Posted at 09:47 AM ET, 04/05/2011

House Administration Committee distributes shutdown guidance to members

With prospects for a budget deal between congressional leaders and the White House still unclear, the Committee on House Administration issued a letter to members Tuesday containing guidance on what will happen in the case of a government shutdown — or as the committee terms it, a “lapse in appropriations."

The letter states that House offices and committees will designate which employees are “essential,” which the letter defines as “only those employees whose primary job responsibilities are directly related to constitutional responsibilities, related to the protection of human life, or related to the protection of property.” Those employees would work during a shutdown; all other employees would be placed in furlough status.

Offices are required to submit paperwork to the House Administration Committee by 5 p.m. Friday detailing which employees are essential and which are non-essential. If an office fails to submit its paperwork, none of its employees will be furloughed, the letter states.

The Committee on House Administration’s Web site has further guidance for members and employees.

The full letter is after the jump.

April 5, 2011

Members, the Resident Commissioner, Delegates,

Committee Chairmen, and House Officers

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Colleague:

Should Congress and the President fail to come to an agreement continuing appropriations for the Legislative Branch, non-essential House operations must be shut down effective April 9, 2011. Because a disruption in the legislative activities of the House would prevent the House from exercising its powers under Article I of the Constitution of the United States, essential employees should continue to perform their normal duties.

Therefore, under the authority vested in the Committee on House Administration by House Rule X, clause 1(k), the Committee directs that in the event of a lapse in appropriations for the Legislative Branch, each House employing authority shall designate as essential personnel only those employees whose primary job responsibilities are directly related to constitutional responsibilities, related to the protection of human life, or related to the protection of property. All other House personnel shall be placed in a furlough status by the appropriate employing authority until appropriations are made available. Each employing authority who furloughs employees shall submit to the Finance Office an “Authorization for Furlough of Employees” form by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011. If an office does not submit a furlough authorization form, none of their employees will be furloughed. All of these employees must be essential. These forms are available digitally on HouseNet or through the Office of Finance.

The Committee has prepared guidance, available on the Committee’s website (, on the decision making process for how employees are determined to be “essential” or “non-essential.” The guidance is appended to this document. Furthermore, the guidance explains the impact of a lapse in funding on benefits. Sample notice letters to essential and non-essential employees are available on the Committee on House Administration’s website.

Please contact Committee staff at x58281 (Majority) or x52061 (Minority) if we can be of any further assistance.


Daniel E. Lungren


Committee on House Administration

(Note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the consequences of not submitting the required paperwork.)

By  |  09:47 AM ET, 04/05/2011

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