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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wisconsin 'Forward' Statue stands in front of the entrance to the Wisconsin State Capitol. 

UW-Madison officials prepare for potential government shutdown

Congress has until Saturday evening to approve government spending. UW-Madison is preparing for what could happen if they don’t.

Campus offices at the University of Wisconsin-Madison prepared for a looming federal government shutdown which would have begun on Sunday, but Congress passed a bill to keep the federal government funded for 45 more days during a last-minute vote on Saturday. 

When in a shutdown, “federal agencies must discontinue all non-essential discretionary functions until new funding legislation is passed and signed into law,” according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Mandatory spending programs, among other essential programs, would continue. 

Mike Lenn, UW-Madison federal relations director, told The Daily Cardinal the university was aware of the likelihood of a shutdown and has taken necessary precautions.

“We have experience from past shutdowns, and we have the resources in place to ensure smooth operations,” Lenn said. “In fact, preparations began a month ago.”

However, several aspects of day-to-day life at UW-Madison could be affected should a shutdown occur. 

Most federal groups, “will not be able to provide assistance during a shutdown,” meaning any means of communication with government officials of federal programs would essentially face a standstill, UW-Madison said Thursday.

Lenn said the initial impact to students would not be significant.

“Should a federal government shutdown occur, the impact to campus operations and day-to-day life for most students will not change dramatically in the short term,” Lenn said. “Much like the rest of the country, however, the longer a shutdown lasts, the more its impacts will be felt by the average student.” 

Congress had until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday to pass the spending parameters for the federal government. Had they failed to do so, the shutdown would have started on Sunday. 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Oct. 2 to acknowledge the passing of a funding bill that keeps the government open for 45 days.

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