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Office of the Federal Register Blog

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Reader Aids help people use and understand the federal rulemaking process. Reader Aids information is not published in the Federal Register.

What happens if the Government shuts down?

The OFR very much hopes that a lapse in appropriations will not occur, but we need to plan for all contingencies.  What will happen to the Federal Register if there is a government shutdown? The OFR published a notice to give guidance to agency customers and the public. See, 78 FR 59974.

In brief, the OFR will continue to publish documents necessary for the protection of life and property during a government funding hiatus. Our guidance is based on the Federal Register Act, the Anti-deficiency Act, and guidance from the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Justice.

FR readers might not immediately see the effect of a government shutdown because of the lead time needed to publish our material. For example, a Monday edition of the FR is basically ready for distribution by midnight on Friday.  A Tuesday edition is closed and prepared on the prior Friday for Monday public inspection. Hastily removing documents from the Tuesday issue on Monday during a shutdown would require us to expend scarce resources unrelated to protecting human life and property. But after that, the Federal Register would slim down quite a bit.

Other OFR services would be suspended immediately, such as the currently updated e-CFR.  Because updated e-CFR and CFR information is not directly involved in protecting life and property, we would have to defer work on them until funding is restored.  The same would be true for the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents.

During the shutdown, we will not be offering technical support for The basic FR posting process is completely automated using programming that was completed many years ago. But if XML bulk data feeds are not available from GPO due to staff furloughs, will not be updated. In that case, please use the official edition of the Federal Register on FDsys, which will remain in service to publish documents that relate to the protection of life and/or property.  If experiences a system outage, we will not be able to restore service until funding is provided.

As a reminder to agencies, because OFR does not normally receive USPS deliveries at our location, we cannot guarantee that we will receive any documents sent via USPS, at least not in a timely fashion. Commercial delivery and messenger services will continue to have direct access to our office.