Thursday, October 3, 2013

Why The Government "Shuts Down"

This is interesting.
Somebody was serious when they said Congress has the purse strings.

143-year-old law has Washington treading gingerly during shutdown

Steve Liesman CNBC

19 hours ago


Administration officials now live in fear of a 19th-century law that could get them fired, penalized or even imprisoned if they make the wrong choices while the government is shut down.

The law is the Antideficiency Act, passed by Congress in 1870 (and amended several times), which prohibits the government from incurring any monetary obligation for which Congress has not appropriated funds.

In shutting down the government, most memos cite the law as the reason. The Government Accountability Office says employees who violate the Antideficiency Act may be subject to disciplinary action, suspension and even "fines, imprisonment, or both."

CNBC has learned that in several executive branch departments, high-level staff members review individual decisions about what government activities to allow for fear of running afoul of the Antideficiency Act. One White House official said he has advised his employees not to check their email or cellphones. Under the act, even volunteering for government service is expressly prohibited.

In a memo to his department employees today, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew cited the law as the reason for reduced staffing.

"For the duration of this impasse, as required by the Antideficiency Act and directed by OMB, the Department will be required to operate with only the minimal staffing level necessary to execute only certain legally exempted activities," Lew wrote.

The only exemptions to the shutdown concern "emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property," according to government documents. That has meant airports and the Postal Service are open, Social Security checks get paid and federal prisons and courts will operate as normal as do most national security functions including the military and the Central Intelligence Agency. But national parks and museums are closed along with big parts of the departments of Education and Commerce

There is a bit more at the link.

I'll go ya one better.
When these jackasses decide to shut down the government for purely political reasons, there should be a law that would immediately freeze their bank accounts.

Tell me the bastards wouldn't be just a little more introspective and reluctant to pull this number again.


  1. One of my son-in-laws is out of work now, thanks to those bozos. He's normally a really mellow and soft spoken guy. He's pissed. I was actually surprised at his anger level.

  2. Some dimwit asked why the pit toilets at Death Valley National Park were locked during the shutdown. Surely pit toilets don't need maintenance, right? Well, it turns out that several times a day they go to each pit toilet and replenish the TP and spritz the seats and surrounding area with bleach, let it sit for a minute or two, then spritz everything with water to flush down the... uhm... "misses". Without that, they would become filthy and unsafe within a single day because for the busier ones hundreds of people use each toilet per hour. So yeah, the dude whose job is to spritz the toilets is on unpaid leave, the toilets get locked. Actions have consequences and all that.


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