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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Says Administration Preparing for Possibility that Congressional Budget Inaction Could Once Again Ensnare DC


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(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray said his administration is preparing – for the third time since April – for the possibility that a federal shutdown would also ensnare the District government’s operations.

“Once again, Congress’ inability to act has forced the District government to prepare for a shutdown simply because we do not have budget autonomy. I urge Congress to do its job and allow the District government to stay open and expend local revenues paid by DC residents to serve the needs of our people,” Mayor Gray said. “It’s unconscionable that the District, which has a structurally balanced budget and a growing reserve fund, is held hostage by a Congress that has the federal government neck-deep in red ink.”

Mayor Gray said his administration is revisiting contingency plans put in place in April in anticipation of another possible federal shutdown to ensure that the District of Columbia will be ready should Congress be unable to reach an agreement by the end of this week.

The Mayor noted the irony that the District government has been fiscally responsible and has passed a balanced budget for 14 consecutive years, while Congress has been unable to balance the federal budget in recent memory.

If the federal government shuts down, DC would only be able to continue operating its services and agencies that are essential to public safety and health as well as the continuity of crucial government operations. They include:

 

• Metropolitan Police Department: All sworn officers will continue to be on duty. The 911 system will also be fully operational.

• Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department: All firefighters and EMTs will be on duty.

• D.C. Public Schools and Public Charter Schools: DCPS and Public Charter Schools will remain open.

• Limited Health and Human Services Functions: A limited number of Health and Human Services functions will be operating, including income-maintenance functions (TANF, food stamps, and Medicaid), limited unemployment benefits functions, the Department of Mental Health, various functions of the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, and a limited set of functions within the Department of Health.

Services that would be interrupted by a federal shutdown include:

• Department of Motor Vehicles: All locations will be closed.

• Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: The permitting and licensing functions will not operate during a shutdown.

• Department of Public Works: Trash collection will not start until one week after shutdown. Leaf collection will be suspended.

• Department of Transportation: DDOT will be operating with a skeleton crew, so routine maintenance and repairs will cease. Emergency repairs will be made.

Public Libraries: All D.C. libraries will be closed.