By Bernie Becker - 04/07/11 08:54 PM EDT
With the federal government set to lose the authority to spend money in less than a day and a half, an administration official said Thursday that it had been telling federal employees whether they would be furloughed during a shutdown.
On Wednesday, the administration said that 800,000 or so federal employees might be furloughed in event of a shutdown, while service members would continue to work but would not get paid until the government was up and running again.
The Paul legislation would also mandate that Social Security checks get disbursed, ensure that Medicare and Medicaid are fully funded and bar funding to agencies that provide abortion services.
The administration has also indicated that it believes Social Security recipients will still receive benefits during a shutdown, while those on Medicare would continue to be covered unless a shutdown occurred for an extended period of time.
A Paul spokeswoman did not respond to an inquiry over the constitutionality of the legislation. But a proposal comparable to one in Paul's legislation — barring lawmakers and the president from being paid during a shutdown and from getting retroactively reimbursed afterwards — did face some constitutional scrutiny last week.
House Democrats pushed for a measure on Friday that would not have allowed members of Congress and President Obama to receive retroactive pay after a shutdown, after a similar proposal passed the Senate in March.
But as The Washington Post reported, the White House cast doubt on the constitutionality of such a measure, citing, among other things, a clause that said a president’s pay could neither be raised nor lowered during their term in office.