Workers in almost every department say they have heard of plans to furlough them over the holiday period. Office of Personnel Management and the White House say there is no truth to the rumors, that 30-day notice is required for nonemergency furloughs, and that if you haven't gotten a notice by now you are safe. The dark cloud on the horizon is the next test of wills between Congress and the Reagan administration over the continuing resolution that expires this month.
If Congress and the White House get into a battle similar to the one that caused the one-day partial shutdown last month, there could be emergency furloughs for lots of people. It is unlikely the crisis will develop, but it was also unlikely last month when it became a reality.
Some people believe there will be no new budget battle because they say members of Congress would not recess without dealing with a government shutdown that would endanger their paychecks. The problem is that the congressional budget is one of the few that has been approved. A new showdown between the president and Congress could cut off your salary, but it won't stop monthly paychecks to Capitol Hill.