House Republicans will release a pamphlet Tuesday outlining the procedures Congressional offices should take during a government shutdown, according to a senior Democratic aide.
The pamphlet from House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) will advise Members to identify essential personnel who will continue working and furlough the remainder of the staff. Furloughed staff will be prohibited from working on official resources, such as email and BlackBerrys.
For the most part, Members will be given wide latitude to identify essential staff in the event of a shutdown, said the aide, who has not seen the pamphlet but has been informed about its contents.
“Positions have to have some sort of core legislative or constitutional function, and that discretion is given to the Member to make those choices,” the aide said.
Employees will be required to pay both the employee and employer portions of their federal health insurance, while the student loan repayment program will be terminated.
The plan also calls for shuttering the Capitol Visitor Center and limiting the number of Capitol entrances that will be open.
But the House galleries will remain operational, making the Capitol a singular attraction in what would be an otherwise shuttered federal city, the aide said.
“There could be a lot of lines, long lines,” the staffer said. “I can imagine the logjam that’s going to be created by closing the CVC and diverting everyone through the main buildings.”
The aide added that the Congressional Research Service will remain largely operational to help Congress in its legislative work, while other agencies will put into place contingency plans.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.