I can never sleep before a big outdoor trip so I have spent the last few hours researching government shutdowns. I stumbled across this resource:
Ignore the WaPo address as it is actually a congressional research report they reposted in 2011.
Some interesting and relevant issues popped up:
1) According to the Anti-Defeciency Act:
The act prohibits federal officials from obligating funds before an appropriations measure has been enacted, except as authorized by law. The act also prohibits acceptance of voluntary services and employment of personal services exceeding what has been authorized by law.10 Exceptions are made under the act to the latter prohibition for “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.” Therefore, the Antideficiency Act generally prohibits agencies from continued operation in the absence of appropriations. Failure to comply with the act may result in criminal sanctions, fines, and removal.
- This might explain why superintendents cannot allocate some places as open during closures. There is obviously is discrepancy between agencies that is unaccounted for in this interpretation.
- Bolded by me. This explains why furloughed individuals are not allowed to work (??)
- Sets precedent for why LEs are still funded and provides their mission
2) A hearing was convened after the 1995/96 closures after reports of disorganization. It would appear that processes were more regimented after this point. It appears that annual reports and plans became more common (??) . Each agency is required to file a plan at the beginning of each fiscal year that sets in place specific measures in case of a funding gap.
- Might be worth investigating if this is why the GCNP was able to accept funds from outside sources in 1995 but informally claims to be unable to do so now.
Lots of good information in this source for folks wanting to educate themselves about a process that has become increasingly common since the mid-80s. I never personally realized how explicit the laws were regarding decisions made by the agencies. It would appear, despite common belief, that its not just commands from above but also official acts of Congress that have limited the choices by park management. Maybe its time to approach some law makers to amend the law to clarify maintaining access to citizens to activities that don't jeopardize life or property. Imagine that could be tricky.