Thousands of USDOT Employees Furloughed as House Misses Deadline to Approve Funding
Washington D.C. – Thousands of United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) employees are furloughed after lawmakers failed to approve funding for federal highway programs.
The deadline to reauthorize surface transportation funding came and went on Thursday as the U.S. House of Representatives failed to reach agreement on the Senate’s infrastructure bill or pass a short-term funding extension.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has so far declined to call a vote on the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which includes a multi-year reauthorization for highway funding.
The legislative failure has reportedly already resulted in the furlough of approximately 3,700 USDOT workers.
However, according to a USDOT memo, should the lapse in funding become prolonged it will result in 22,312 of the Department’s 53,731 employees being furloughed.
Of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 1,115 workers, 798 are set to be furloughed, while 2,412 of the 2,568 employees at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will also be sent home.
The only employees who will remain on the job until funding is reauthorized are those deemed “necessary to perform activities expressly implied by law” and “necessary to protect life and property.”
Specifically, at the FMCSA, the total number of employees in these two categories is 317.
Why Hasn’t Funding Been Approved?
Infighting within the Democratic caucus over whether to couple the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill with President Biden’s unprecedented $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation “Build Back Better” social spending plan is threatening to derail their entire legislative agenda.
Dozens of progressives in the House maintain they will not approve the infrastructure bill without the Senate first approving the budget reconciliation bill.
It remains unclear if Speaker Pelosi will call a vote on a short-term funding fix on Friday evening.
The earliest the Senate could approve a budget reconciliation bill is Monday of next week, so furloughed USDOT employees could be waiting a while before returning to work.
TransportationNation.com will continue to monitor the situation.