News Local/State

What A Government Shutdown Means Around Champaign


The looming threat of a government shutdown is not expected to have much of an impact on most federally-operated government offices in the Champaign area.

A spokesman for the Veterans Administration hospital in Danville, Doug Shouse, said the facility has received funding appropriations through 2014 - having no impact on staff or services in Danville, or at clinics in Decatur and Mattoon. 

Ken Wells, the Clerk of Court for the Federal District in Central Illinois, including the federal courthouse in Urbana – said there are reserve funds in place that would allow court employees to operate in ‘business as usual’ mode for two weeks.

Meanwhile, Brad Ware, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said all agents and support personnel, including those in Champaign, are considered exempt from furloughs in order to continue investigative work.

A government shutdown would affect the workload of federally-funded research at the University of Illinois, but it is not expected to result in furloughs or layoffs. Melanie Hoots with the U of I office of the Vice Chancellor for Research said it still relies on funds from existing grants and contracts, but a shutdown would halt processing of new ones. Hoots added the length of a shutdown could mean a backlog of projects to catch up on when the federal government gets back to work.

“If the shutdown went on for a long time, of course, there would be the potential for it to be more disruptive," she said. "Someone might be expecting a new award that would be delayed. I don’t see in the short term that we’d be any less busy."

The looming threat of a government shutdown will mean some furloughs for a federally–funded research facility located off-campus in Champaign. A spokeswoman whose office represents the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, or CERL, said everyone is expected to report by Tuesday morning. 

But Debbie Quimby said 21 of 275 support employees whose work is not funded by continuing dollars would be furloughed if the government shuts down. Employees at the lab were required to take up to 11 furlough days earlier this year, but they ended in July after federal officials identified more than $1 billion in savings.