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Angst About Shutdown Grows for Personnel

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House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren said Wednesday that his staff has been researching and conducting meetings in private on procedures for a possible government shutdown.

“Certainly it’s a concern for me as a staffer, as I’m sure it is for everyone,” one Democratic employee said. “People depend on their salaries to be able to meet their obligations.”

At the agency level, union representatives were trying to figure out Wednesday who exactly would be called into work and who would be sent home.

Rep. Ander Crenshaw, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, said the one office that he has spoken with is that of the Clerk of the House. The Florida Republican said he was told the Clerk is working on a contingency plan in the event of a shutdown, though he said he doesn’t know the specifics.

Of course, as an office with mostly legislative duties, at least some of the Clerk’s employees would likely remain to aid legislative floor activity.

But the same is not true for an agency such as the Architect of the Capitol. Bill Blevins, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 121, said he is trying to protect his 60 AOC construction electricians, who work for hourly wages under the Dome maintaining security systems and lighting, among other things.

He said he has been told that some projects for which money has already been appropriated will carry on, but some work would grind to a halt. Blevins said he hopes to meet with management today get a clearer picture.

The political branch of his organization has told him to bank on a shutdown, Blevins said.

The Government Printing Office has been more forthcoming, he said, informing him that the eight union electricians employed there would likely work on a rotating schedule — four per shift each weekday — and would be paid an accordingly abridged rate.

Saul Schneiderman, president of the Library of Congress chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said he met with Library management Wednesday to talk about a shutdown.

“They wanted to hear what we had to say in the event we had some points that they hadn’t thought of,” he said. “We were just going through different scenarios. They didn’t provide us with any information or a list of employees [who would be furloughed], but I’m sure they’re working on that.”

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