Saturday, October 5, 2013

Laws that apply when a appropriations gap leads to shutdown

Glenn Beck has been telling his webcast subscribers that Obama has shuttered national parks and monuments to "maximize pain" as part of his Marxist communist revolution.

Instead of believing an entertainer's interpretation of the law, I'm one of those cooky people who prefers to do a little reading on my own. So, I went to the Department of Interior web site and followed the link for information on the shutdown. There I found a carefully researched summary of several laws regarding operation of agencies during gaps in appropriations.

Source: Department of Interior

For years leading up to 1980, many federal agencies continued to operate during a funding gap, “minimizing all nonessential operations and obligations, believing that Congress did not intend that agencies close down,”while waiting for the enactment of annual appropriations acts or continuing resolutions. In 1980 and 1981, however, U.S. Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti issued two opinions that more strictly interpreted the Antideficiency Act in the context of a funding gap, along with the law’s exceptions.

The Attorney General’s opinions stated that, with some exceptions, the head of an agency could avoid violating the Antideficiency Act only by suspending the agency’s operations until the enactment of an appropriation. In the absence of appropriations, exceptions would be allowed only when there is “some reasonable and articulable connection between the function to be performed and the safety of human life or the protection of property.” Apart from this broad category of “human life and property” exceptions to the Antideficiency Act, the Civiletti opinions identified another broad category of exceptions: those that are “authorized by law.”

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