With the longest shutdown in US history officially over, here’s a look at how the federal government will get back to regular business:
When will federal workers get paid?
It is unclear at this time. The White House tweeted that it will be “in the coming days”.
Some 800,000 workers were given leave or required to work without pay. They will receive back pay.
While the Trump administration is promising to pay federal workers as soon as possible, a senior official said agencies are in charge of their own payroll issues and workers should check with their departments for details about when the back pay will arrive.
Under the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act that President Donald Trump signed into law on January 16, workers are to get their back pay “as soon as possible after the lapse in appropriations ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates”. That means they should not have to wait for their next payday to get those back wages.
The Office of Management and Budget instructed agencies on Friday night to ensure they had adequate staff on hand to support payroll processes and to answer employees’ benefit questions as they return to work.
How soon before the Smithsonian Museums reopen?
The Smithsonian tweeted that all of its museums and the National Zoo will reopen on Tuesday January 29 at their regularly scheduled times.
What about the national parks?
Many remained open during the government shutdown, but at reduced staffing levels.
Theresa Pierno, president and chief executive of the National Parks Conservation Association, said some parks suffered “terrible damage” during the shutdown. One of the first jobs for park workers will be to assess that damage.
“The damage done to our parks will be felt for weeks, months or even years,” she said.
P Daniel Smith, deputy director of the National Park Service, said “the National Park Service is preparing to resume regular operations nationwide though the schedule for individual parks may vary depending on staff size and complexity of operations”.
“Many parks which have been accessible throughout the lapse in appropriations remain accessible with basic services,” he said.
“Visitors should contact individual parks or visit park websites for their opening schedules and the latest information on accessibility and visitor services. Some parks which have been closed throughout the lapse in appropriations may not reopen immediately, but we will work to open all parks as quickly as possible.”
Will air travellers get a break soon, too?
The shutdown had become a source of growing alarm for travellers and airlines.
The absence rate among airport screeners peaked at 10% last weekend, meaning longer queues.
On Friday, the absence of six air traffic control workers contributed to massive delays along the East Coast. LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey were particularly affected, and delays rippled outward from there – about 3,000 late flights by mid-afternoon.
The end of the shutdown should relieve those problems. However, the Transportation Security Administration has emphasised that the large majority of passengers have not suffered from the shutdown. The TSA said that only 3.7% of travellers screened on Wednesday – about 65,000 people – waited 15 minutes or longer.
When will President Trump deliver his State of the Union address?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will discuss a date with Mr Trump once the government is open.
She did not give any further details on Friday, except to say “I’ll look forward to doing that and welcoming the president to the House of Representatives for the State of the Union”.
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