LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has released the protocols Arkansas will follow if a federal government shutdown takes place over the weekend.
The federal government will not be able to continue operations if the House and Senate do not pass funding legislation before midnight on Saturday, Sept. 30. Currently, a shutdown appears likely as congressional negotiators struggle to come to agreement on a way to keep the government open.
Sanders issued a memo to her cabinet secretaries outlining the review process should a shutdown happen based on the impact to federally-funded Arkansas services.
In her memo, the governor, a Republican, placed blame for the shutdown on Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration.
“The Biden Administration’s failure puts Arkansans and the programs they rely on at risk, but my administration will do everything in our power to keep the vital functions of government working,” the memo states.
The governor outlines a three-part review should state programs become impacted.
The first part provides for necessary programs that will remain funded. If the program or employee is “necessary to protect public health, safety, or welfare, and the federal government has provided documentation guaranteeing funding during the shutdown, the program and federally funded employment may continue uninterrupted by the shutdown,” it states.
The second allows agencies to remain open if funding remains in place due to current or previous grants “as long as funding remains available.”
Finally, programs “wholly or partially” dependent on federal funding “will be suspended because of the White House’s failure to work with Congress, effective Sunday, October 1st for the duration of the shutdown,” the governor’s memo states.
The governor continues on this last point to allow cabinet secretaries to deviate from this suspension for specific reasons.
“The federal government will not allow us to make any exceptions unless the protection of public health, safety, and welfare would be compromised, as determined by the cabinet secretary in consultation with the Department of Finance and Administration and the Department of Transformation and Shared Services,” the memo states.
The memo concludes that the state’s Budget and Accounting and Office of Personnel Management will be available to assist agencies in making operations determinations if a shutdown takes place.