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FCC Releases “Plan for Orderly Shutdown,” in Case Congress Fails to Fund Government


With US House action pending on a continuing resolution to fund the US Government for a while longer, the FCC has released a “Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations.” The Senate has approved a temporary spending bill to head off a federal government shutdown and keep things running through December 11, but US House member will face a more difficult vote. In the 2013 government shutdown, the FCC halted all activities “other than those immediately necessary for the protection of life or property.” That included the processing of all Amateur Radio license applications filed via the Universal Licensing System (ULS).

“When this shutdown plan is activated, all FCC employees will be instructed to report to work the first business day following a lapse in appropriations if necessary to conduct orderly shutdown of operations,” the FCC’s 2015 shutdown plan states.  The FCC estimated that each employee should need no more than 4 hours to accomplish an orderly shutdown, with rare exceptions. “During this time, all but full-time, furlough-excepted FCC employees will receive a notice of decision to furlough in the form of a letter attached to an e-mail. The notice of decision will inform employees to cease regular work activities.  Employees being furloughed also will be provided shutdown instructions advising them to engage only in shutdown activities.”

The 2013 shutdown brought the FCC to a complete halt for all intents and purposes beyond emergencies. That included functions at the Commission’s Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, facility, which handles all Amateur Radio licensing transactions, as well on the FCC’s main website and the Amateur Radio call sign database (ULS).

The ARRL will monitor the situation and alert members, should a government shutdown occur and FCC operations be suspended. FCC employees will be expected to return to work on the next scheduled work day after a shutdown furlough has ended.





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