With the government shutdown looming, it’s time to play DC’s new favorite game: Who’s an “essential” government employee?
When it comes to tech, the two most important agencies are the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission. So who gets to stick around from our favorite agencies? And what will those remaining focus on?
The FCC says only 38 of 1,754 employees are essential (2.2%). These include the Chairwoman and two Commissioners, up to 16 necessary to protect life and property, up to 8 for protection from interference, 2 for critical oversight, and 4 for critical Information Technology issues.
The FTC says 252 of 1,178 employees are essential (21.4%). These include the 4 current Commissioners and up to 248 employees deemed necessary “to protect life and property through the prosecution of enforcement actions.”
The FTC seems to have a higher number of employees left because they’re fundamentally a law enforcement agency, not a regulator — and will focus on law enforcement. For the FCC, almost all of its functions will cease, except for some work on interference issues and the Emergency Alert System.
If there is a shutdown, maybe Congress should take time to think through whether we really need the FCC at all — or whether its functions can be transferred to the FTC as law enforcement issues.
Here’s to focusing on the essentials!