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CFTC, FERC to Remain Open if Government Shuts Down

In the event of a shutdown of the federal government at midnight EDT Friday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said the "vast bulk of the agency's operations will cease." It said it will have only 25 staff members overseeing the markets, which will allow the stock markets, commodities and futures exchanges to continue to operate.

"The limited contingent of excepted employees has been identified to ensure...that a bare minimum level of oversight and surveillance of the futures markets, clearing operations and intermediaries is maintained," said CFTC COO Madge Bolinger Gazzola.

"Of the 675 employees at the CFTC, 25 have been identified as exempted from the restrictions of the Antideficiency Act because their work is necessary to address an imminent risk to the safety of human life or the protection of property," she said. "This represents 3.7% of the CFTC's staff."

The five CFTC commissioners will be exempt from furlough during the shutdown period, the agency said, but their staffs will be subject to furlough if the federal government closes its doors.

With limited exceptions, all employees who are not identified as excepted would require no more than four hours to conduct an orderly shutdown of agency operations, Gazzola said. And six employees of the CFTC Office of Financial Management would require no more than two work days to complete an orderly shutdown of their activities.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would no longer have current-year budget authority to fund the cost of its operations in the case of a shutdown, but it would have prior-year budget authority, which could be used to continue operating through April 22, a FERC spokesman said Friday. All FERC employees were expected to report for work on Monday (April 11).

"The Commission will remain open and continue to conduct business as usual," the spokesman said.

With certain exceptions, FERC would be required to stop operating on April 22 if Congress has not acted and the Commission has exhausted the prior-year funds.

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