Government shutdown could harm international affairs programs in the long-term

While the government shutdown that went into effect October 1 may not have widespread short-term impact on programs funded through the State Department’s International Affairs Account, “major disruption could occur if the closure continues for a prolonged period of time,” the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) reports.

“The lack of an immediate abrupt effect is due to the fact that many International Affairs appropriation accounts allow funds to be spent over a two-year period or indefinitely,” USGLC explains, adding that “if any FY13 resources remain unexpended, they can be drawn upon to continue operations and pay staff until they are exhausted.”

A prolonged shutdown, however, would deplete these FY13 residual balances and require “agencies … to identify ‘excepted’ staff and activities that may continue while placing non-excepted personnel on furlough.”

USGLC notes that because they are not dependent on additional government funds, many grants and contracts that have already been issued for programs operating on two-year or indefinite funds will be able to continue to operate. However, certain activities are being suspended, including:

  • Commitments or obligations for new programs;
  • New hires;
  • Representation events; and
  • New travel.

As reported earlier this week, U.S. embassies and consulates in the U.S. and overseas will remain open and their services, including visa issuance, will continue.



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