While many today returned to work after the Holiday season, things remained quieter than usual here in the nation’s capital – with many federal workers furloughed until further notice as the federal government continues to be in a partial shutdown. President Trump is reportedly meeting with congressional leaders today ahead of Thursday’s start to a new congressional session but, at least for now, there’s no immediate end to the shutdown in sight.
Here’s how the shutdown is affecting federal agencies responsible for overseeing and enforcing advertising and privacy laws:
- The FTC closed as of midnight December 28, 2018. All events are postponed and website information and social media will not be updated until further notice. While some FTC online services are available, others are not. More information here.
- The CPSC is also closed, although a December 18, 2018 CPSC memorandum summarizing shutdown procedures indicates that certain employees “necessary to protect against imminent threats to human safety” will be excepted employees and continue work during the shutdown. The CPSC consumer hotline also continues to operate. Companies should remember that obligations to report potential safety hazards are not furloughed, so the mantra of “when in doubt, report” still applies, even if public announcement of a recall may be delayed.
- Roughly 40% of FDA is furloughed according to numbers released by its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. In a post on its website, the agency explained that it will be continuing vital activities, to the extent permitted by law, including monitoring for and responding to public health issues related to the food and medical product supply. The agency is also continuing work on activities funded by carryover user fee balances, although it is unable to accept any regulatory submissions for FY 2019 that require a fee payment.
- Because the CFPB is funded through the Federal Reserve and not Congress, it remains in operation.