KGOU

How Oklahoma Could Be Affected By A Federal Government Shutdown

Jan 19, 2018

The offices of most federal agencies in Oklahoma could be affected by a potential government shutdown, if the U.S. Senate fails to move past a deadlock on a funding bill.

The Federal Highway Administration will remain open because it is funded by the Highway Trust Fund, which is separate from the U.S. government’s General Fund, said Doug Hecox, a spokesman for the agency.

Federal courts in the state, including the Northern, Western and Eastern Districts, have enough funding to remain open for about three weeks in the event of a shutdown, after which employees could be furloughed.

“It is possible the court could have to cut down at some point,” said Mark McCartt, the clerk for the Northern District.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has many offices around the state, told KGOU it would close immediately if federal lawmakers do not reach an agreement. But since the announcement is not expected until late on Friday, the office would not initiate closing procedures until Monday morning, said Lee Denney, state director for rural development.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, would also be closed with the exception of a few essential activities, according to spokesman Jerry Brown. Those activities could include loan closings and ensuring that payments for public housing and vouchers are being made.

The National Park Service would be affected by the shutdown as well. The roads and grounds of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area would remain open and law enforcement rangers that provide emergency services would continue to work, said Ron Parker, the park’s chief of interpretation. However, other services that require staffing and maintenance, such as campgrounds, full-service restrooms and the park’s nature center, would be closed.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum will remain open regardless of whether there is a shutdown, says Maryann Eckstein, director of media. The museum is an affiliate of the National Park Service, but it is privately funded and operated. However, there would be no park rangers on duty.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would fund the government through mid-February. But as of late Friday afternoon, the Senate had yet to reach an agreement on the bill.

As a community-supported news organization, KGOU relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.