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FCC to Remain Open If Government Shuts Down

The FCC said Friday (Jan. 19) that if the government shuts down, the agency will not, at least for one week.

It has sufficient funds to operate through Friday, Jan. 26, a spokesman said. The deadline for Congress to pass some kind of appropriations bill is midnight Friday.

As of press time, according to C-SPAN, the  Senate had not scheduled a vote on House-passed legislation to keep the government open a few more weeks under a continuing resolution (CR).

Asked what the FCC would do in case of a shutdown, Brian Hart, director of the FCC's Office of Media Relations, said: “In the event of a partial government shutdown, because of available funding, the Federal Communications Commission plans to remain open and pay staff at least through the close of business on Friday, Jan. 26.”

Hart had no comment on what would happen beyond that first week, but during the October 2013, three-week, government shutdown, the FCC shuttered its web site and had to suspend its filing deadlines and suspend its merger-review shot clocks. Commissioners and some essential personnel still came to work, however.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.