WASHINGTON – Fiscal hawks say the silver lining to the partial government shutdown, which is entering its second week of scaled-back services, could be the picture of government waste it paints for taxpayers.
A look through the shutdown contingency plans of the federal government shows some little-known commissions and agencies — like the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness — don’t have anybody reporting for work during the partial shutdown.
The ability of the government to run without any of the people from any of these agencies on the clock is prompting some watchdog groups to question why, then, do the agencies need to exist in the first place?
“Think of all the money we could save as a nation,” Judicial Watch said in an Oct. 7 post. “Besides bringing attention to these largely unheard of agencies, the shutdown – caused by Congress’s inability to agree on a funding bill – is also shedding light on just how bloated the federal government is, with an astounding workforce that’s seen nearly 800,000 furloughed this week.”
Government bodies that have exactly zero people on the job this week include the USDA Risk Management Agency, where all 430 employees are furloughed, and the Federal Maritime Commission, where all 120 workers are furloughed.
The federal government is the country’s largest employer, and the fallout from the partial shutdown has been felt at almost every federal agency; some, though, more than others.
Department heads were told ahead of time to prep for a scale-back in services and were told to divide workers into essential and non-essential categories. The essential workers were told to report to work.
Over at the Department of Commerce, 15,641 employees at the Census Bureau were told to stay home. It was the same story for all 169 people at the U.S. Economic Development Administration, as well as for the 49 workers at the Minority Business Development Agency.