Government Prepares for Shutdown

on .

DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of April 4, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The White House, Senate and House of Representatives spent the week debating and grappling with attempts to prevent a Federal government shutdown. As of Friday morning it seemed unlikely that a shutdown could be avoided.

If you are a fan of political intrigue, this has been quite an exciting week for you. If, on the other hand, you are growing tired of the current political scene in Washington, then this probably wasn’t the most inspiring week.

The news this week was dominated by the political wrangling between the House, Senate and Executive Branch over the budget. As of time of publication, there has been little progress made and it looks more and more likely that a shutdown will not be avoided.
The Senate and House have until midnight on Friday to strike a deal or else almost a million Federal employees will be furloughed, shutting down many essential services.

Who Will Be Shut Down?

It varies from department to department and even from agency to agency. However, the general rule is that all non-essential employees will be sent home and will not receive pay. The example that the government has given relates to the National Parks system. In this case, ticket collectors and tour guides would not be allowed to work, however, security guards would be required to come in (without pay). Members of the military will not receive pay, however, they will be required to stay on duty (especially if they are in active combat zones). Members of the security services such as the Central Intelligence Agency will remain on duty without being paid (although a large number of CIA employees will be furloughed).

What About the Department of Transportation?

The DOT has not yet released a definite plan about which employees will be allowed to stay on and which will be sent home. The Federal Highway Administration will definitely remain open as its operating costs are derived from the Federal gasoline tax and it has sufficient funding to survive at least another two weeks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would likely be mostly shut down with only critical safety officials allowed to stay on duty (as of time of publication, it was unclear if auditors would be allowed to stay at work).

What Will Be the Impact of This?

If you are relying on the Federal Government to provide you any services or documentation in the near future, you can probably expect them to be delayed. Passports and Social Security Cards will not be distributed during the shutdown. Similarly, tax rebate checks will not be mailed until the government returns to work.

If you have not yet filed your taxes you MUST still file them before the April 18 deadline.

If you receive Medicare or Social Security you should continue to receive benefit checks, however, other services such as new claims or change-of-address requests will probably be delayed until after the government returns to work.

Will the .GOV Websites Be Available?

The agencies are all being reasonably tight-lipped about what their exact plans are however the influential Office of Management and Budget sent out a recommendation on Friday that all non-essential .GOV websites be taken down for the duration of the shutdown and be replaced with a notice explaining why. While it has been confirmed that the IRS website will be up (so that you may continue to pay your taxes), it is as yet unclear whether the DOT websites will stay active.

Will My Foley Services Be Affected?

Foley Carrier Services is an independent company, not affiliated with the DOT or Federal government. As such, the vast majority of our services will not be affected by the shutdown. Crucially, all drug and alcohol testing programs will be unaffected.

Some of our New Entrant Start-Up Services may be affected. In particular, we may have difficulty providing:

  • New Operating Authorities
  • New DOT and MC Numbers
  • BOC-3 Services; and
  • CSA Scores

These services may vary depending on whether the DOT website remains active. If you need help with any of these services please call a Compliance Specialist at 1-800-253-5506 ext. 713 for more information.

Transportation Ticker

PA State Police Targets Intrastate Carriers without DOT Numbers. Far too many intrastate carriers are failing to comply with Pennsylvania’s DOT number requirement. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, more than 1,300 carriers have been busted for violating the new requirement, which went into effect this time last year.

As of April 2010, all motor carriers operating in Pennsylvania must have a U.S. DOT number displayed, along with their business name, on both sides of the truck. Approximately 1,700 Pennsylvania-based carriers have applied for and received U.S. DOT numbers over the last year. Violators of the DOT number requirement face fines and fees totaling up to $134.50 for carriers and $109.50 for drivers. For help obtaining a U.S. DOT number, call a Foley Compliance Specialist at 1-800-253-5506, ext. 713.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 681 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011