Pope: state preparing for possible federal shutdown

Posted December 10, 2013

Art Pope

— Top North Carolina officials are already making plans to deal with another partial federal shutdown in January if Congress fails to meet a self-imposed deadline for a deal later this week, state Budget Director Art Pope told the General Assembly's Health and Human Services Oversight Committee Tuesday.

"We are all hopeful there will not be a repeat of the October shutdown, but it is absolutely proper and prudent for the General Assembly and the governor to plan for a potential shutdown in the future," Pope said.

A shutdown in October was short-lived but painful for the state, particularly for agencies in the Department of Health and Human Service agencies, which rely heavily on federal finding. That shutdown disrupted processing for food stamps and Work First claims. 

Among the reasons for the disruption at the state level, Pope said, was a lack of direction from the federal government. In particular, at the time of the October shutdown, there were few federal guarantees about what kind of state spending would be reimbursed once the federal government fully reopened. 

Since then, Pope said, Congress has put that direction into law. However, the governor does not have the authority to spend money absent a budget resolution or a budget emergency. Federal shutdowns don't fit under the budget emergency law.

"A federal government shutdown is not an accidental event," Pope said. To allow for maximum flexibility in state spending, he said, the legislature may need to act.

"If we have a January shutdown that goes into February, then it may be necessary to have a special session," he said. 

Reuters and other news outlets have reported this week that congressional lawmakers believe they will reach a budget deal by the end of the week.


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  • wildpig777 Dec 11, 2013

    art pope for OFFICIAL GOV NOR -- snicker snicker.

  • RunsWithWolves Dec 11, 2013

    Art Pope is secretly wishing for the shutdown to occur. This spoiled man, who inherited every dime he has, is an embarrassment to NC.

  • rushbot Dec 10, 2013

    so how many of you all ever can remember a state budget director telling the citizens of his/her state not to worry, it's under control..i have searched my memories..couldna remember any.. ..so i did me a google search using state budget director xxx issued a statement and guess what.. ..all the results were about state budgets..wonder why pope wouldna let mccrony speak to us....hmmmm...who is in charge.....hmmmmm....

  • rushbot Dec 10, 2013

    wow..so pope makes the reassuring announcement..abandoning all pretext about who really is in charge of our state!!!

  • jackjones2nc Dec 10, 2013

    Did Art Pope mention why Republicans are sending our tax money to other states, rather than expanding Medicaid? Not only are we losing our tax money, but we also pay higher rates when the uninsured show up in emergency rooms.

  • Inside The Beltline Dec 10, 2013

    A governmental shutdown is not an accidental thing. Pope, so very ironic you should say that - it will be your doing by proxy.

  • GOPtakersSociety Dec 10, 2013

    Hey Art, while your at it.......... maybe a Jobs bill or two?
    how about all that Medicaid expansion money, surely you can confiscate it somehow?

  • Vote for Pedro Dec 10, 2013

    "A federal government shutdown is not an accidental event," Pope said. To allow for maximum flexibility in state spending, he said, the legislature may need to act.

    No it's not an accident, it is deliberate obstructionism driven by the TP in the House of Representatives.