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Amid Government Shutdown, Operations Continue ‘As Usual’ At USAID, State Dept., Devex Reports

On the first day of a government shutdown on Tuesday, “[USAID], the State Department and the Millennium Challenge Corp. all pledged to continue business as usual in Washington, D.C., and missions around the world for the foreseeable future, operating on residual funds and continuing to honor existing contracts and grants,” Devex reports. “The Obama administration considers USAID a national security agency,” the news service notes, adding, “In 2010, a presidential policy directive elevated development alongside defense and diplomacy and suggested the USAID administrator would be invited to join National Security Council sessions on occasion.” Devex adds, “But even though the U.S. aid apparatus appears to fare much better under this shutdown, uncertainty persists. … Industry officials this week told Devex they fear that even though U.S. aid agencies remain open, important decisions related to policy, programming and partnership will be delayed due to funding uncertainty” (Rosenkranz/Stephens, 10/2).

“Members of the Foreign Service, however, will likely see impacts if the shutdown continues, as will programs dependent on U.S. foreign aid,” Inter Press Service reports. “[I]t is clear that U.S. assistance will begin to feel shutdown-related economic pinches — or worse — if lawmakers are not able to reopen the government in the near term,” IPS writes, adding, “The first to be impacted would likely be some of the development programs that receive funding in just one-year durations.” The news service discusses the short- and long-term implications of the shutdown. “Although political pressures are quickly growing on lawmakers to arrive at a funding solution to re-open the federal government, the current situation could drag on longer than some have previously suggested,” the news service states (Biron, 10/1).