Shutdown of the U.S. Government
The United States Congress did not pass legislation enabling funding of U.S. government operations by the midnight September 30th Washington D.C. deadline which resulted in a partial “shutdown” of the U.S. government. The lapse in funding will NOT affect consular services provided by the United States embassy in Barbados, but some embassy activities will be limited. One of the Department’s highest priorities is to assist U.S. citizens abroad. Our embassies and consulates overseas will continue to provide American citizen services. The embassy will maintain normal business hours and maintain regular consular services (American citizen services, tourist visas, etc.) Below are some questions and answers related to the shutdown:
Q. What will happen at the Department of State now that there is a shutdown?
A. The U. S. government’s fiscal year (FY) begins on October 1. Initially, if there is no continuing resolution or new FY 2014 appropriations bill by October 1, 2013, certain Department of State and USAID operations can continue on a limited basis for a short period of time. Because our FY 2013 appropriations were not enacted by Congress until late March causing uncertainty about our funding levels, we reduced our spending for the first part of FY 2013. Thus, certain multi-year State Department and USAID accounts have residual funds that will be available after September 30, 2013. These funds will allow the Department and USAID to continue to meet most payroll obligations for a short period of time. However, during this time the Department and USAID will not hire any new personnel and will have to severely constrain spending. This includes avoiding new obligations; sharply curtailing travel and conferences; and avoiding making all but the most essential purchases.
Q. Who provides fiscal guidance to the Department of State and USAID under these circumstances?
A. The financial offices of the Department and USAID will monitor operating status and available funding closely and continuously. If residual funds become insufficient to maintain operations, the Department and USAID will continue activities involving the protection of national security and health and life-safety, particularly of U.S. citizens abroad; however, further contraction of operations and activities will occur. This reduced operating status has had, and will continue to have, a cumulative impact on the Department’s and USAID’s ability to fully carry out their National Security missions.
Q. How are consular services able to continue during a shut down?
A. Fee-funded activities, including visa and passport issuance, and U.S. citizen services abroad, will continue since fees are collected to finance these services.
To provide more information about how the embassy is able to remain open during the U.S. government’s partial shutdown, the Department of State has published this guidance on our website. http://www.state.gov/m/rls/2013/214880.htm