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Monday April 24, 2017

CPSC Likely Would Operate Minimally IF Shutdown Happens

CPSC would operate in very limited fashion in the event of a government shutdown later this month. Although it is important to remember that perennial threats of shutdowns happen far more frequently than actual closures, CPSC activity during past closures gives hints to what might occur. Most notably is the reduction to a tiny staff, typically in the 4%-5% of normal range. For example, during the 2013 shutdown, about 22 staffers were allowed to report out of more than 500 (PSL, 10/7/13).

 

Such people typically are referred to by often misunderstood terms like "essential personnel." Those are staffers needed to perform the very curtailed functions allowed during a shutdown rather than those needed to conduct the mission of an agency when operating normally.

 

In CPSC's case, the primary allowed duty would be responding to imminent threats to health and safety, but others include roles like protecting government property or supporting such functions. The few remaining CPSC staffers likely would spend most time assessing incoming information to see if it rose to levels of imminent danger.

 

More details on likely activity during a shutdown are in memos (bit.ly/2pWrKah) on past threats and occurrences.