ORAU on Friday reported that the partial shutdown of the federal government has had, for the most part, a minimal impact on its operations.
The partial government shutdown is now in its 35th day. It’s the longest shutdown ever, and it includes about 25 percent of the federal government.
ORAU has a customer base that includes more than 20 federal agencies.
“The impact to date has been varied, but for the most part minimal,” ORAU spokesperson Pam Bonee said in an emailed response to questions on Friday. “The majority of our work is funded or had sufficient funds to carry the work into the first quarter of 2019.”
ORAU, a university consortium and nonprofit corporation, manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, or ORISE, for the U.S. Department of Energy, among other activities.
“We have had some students in our internship and research participation programs that have had their start dates pushed back, and approximately 20 trips that were canceled,” Bonee said.
Oak Ridge Today asked about ORAU employees assigned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building on South Illinois Avenue, which has been closed due to the shutdown. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is one of the nine federal departments affected by the shutdown.
Bonee said ORAU employees assigned to the NOAA facility in Oak Ridge are currently working from home.
“As you can imagine, we are monitoring the situation and staying in close contact with all of our customers,” she said.
DOE has not been affected by the partial government shutdown, but other federal departments and agencies have been. Besides Commerce, they include the departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, and Treasury. Also affected are the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the federal judiciary, and other related government programs.
The shutdown started with a lapse in appropriations at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, December 22. Some employees have been furloughed and are not working, while others are working without pay. In the Oak Ridge-Knoxville area, those employees include, besides the NOAA staff members, people who work for the National Park Service and U.S. Department of Justice and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
So far, Congress and President Donald Trump have not agreed on spending bills because they have not been able to reach an agreement on whether to include $5.7 billion for a wall on the border with Mexico. However, Trump is expected to make an announcement about the shutdown in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday afternoon.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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