The State of Alaska will try to minimize impacts to Alaskans in the event of a federal government funding gap, said Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday. The federal government runs out of spending authority on Saturday at midnight, if Congress and the president are not able to resolve their spending differences.
Dunleavy instructed state departments to evaluate federal programs administered by the state and review potential impacts to Alaskans.
Dunleavy said he is committed to continuing essential government services funded by the federal government and administered by the State where it has the authority to do so. Alaska would seek reimbursement following a shutdown.
The longest previous federal shutdown was 34 days. When there was a shutdown during President Trump’s Administration, Trump took steps to keep programs going important to Alaska. During the Obama Administration, there were no such allowances for the state, and Obama even shut down hunting on federal lands during hunting season because the president closed parks and access to federal lands.
The State of Alaska is prepared to continue state-administered federally funded programs for that 34-day length of time. If a federal government shutdown were to continue beyond that timeframe, the State will reevaluate the situation if necessary, and prioritize programs that most directly impact the life, health, and safety of Alaskans, Dunleavy said.
The State of Alaska administers many programs on behalf of the federal government. Federal programs that are mandatory by law, authorized outside of the annual appropriations process and have existing carry-forward funds, or classified by the federal administration as “excepted” due to life, health and safety implications would continue to operate during a shutdown.
These categories include programs such as Medicaid and federal air traffic control. Further guidance from the federal government on program impacts is expected in the coming days.
Although the federal government is not required by law to reimburse states for expenses incurred during a federal government shutdown, reimbursement has occurred following every previous shutdown.
Approximately 4,700 state executive branch positions are at least partially federally funded. Employees in these positions would see no disruption in their pay and will continue to report to work.
A small number of federal employees work within state departments. Their status would be determined by the guidance from the federal agency that employs them.
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development has developed a FAQ specifically to address Unemployment Insurance questions associated with the potential government furlough for federal employees.