This SHUTDOWN: Federal employees have generally received backpay after previous government shutdowns. But employees of federal contractors (typically low-wage roles) are less likely to receive backpay. This means that these workers will not only suffer financial stress but also permanent monetary losses!
President Donald Trump has suggested his shutdown could last “for months or even a year or longer” due to his insistence on extorting taxpayer money for a border wall that the American public overwhelmingly opposes—one that he swore Mexico would pay for. The new Democratic House majority passed legislation to reopen the government, but there is no indication that the Republican-controlled Senate will agree to end this impasse soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has voiced his refusal to bring legislation to reopen the government to the Senate floor despite the fact that the chamber passed a similar deal unanimously just three weeks ago.
Because of the shutdown, nearly 800,000 federal workers have either been furloughed from their jobs without pay or been required to stay on the job without pay. As the shutdown drags into its third week, federal employees across the country are missing out on more than $2 billion in total for each pay period that they go without a paycheck. Federal employees have generally received backpay after previous government shutdowns ended. But employees of federal contractors—typically low-wage roles—are much less likely to receive backpay. This means that these workers will not only suffer financial stress but also permanent monetary losses. As Trump continues to rationalize his shutdown by stoking fear, he is harming the very people who protect this country. CAP 1/7/19
(Compliments of #DanetteONealRealtors-Nola/ATL 504.365.7325/770.981.1999)
As of midnight on December 21, 2018: This partial shutdown includes some federal housing, mortgage, and other programs of interest to the real estate industry. While this is a very politically dynamic event, the National Association of Realtors staff continue to monitor federal agencies and work with Congress, the Administration, and other groups to assess ongoing impacts to Realtor members and their businesses.
Environmental Protection Agency
Under EPA’s shutdown plan(link is external), most employees are now furloughed. This will affect various regulatory programs and compliance activities, such as wetlands determinations under the 404 program and enforcement of the lead-based paint disclosure and renovation, repair and painting programs.
Federal Housing Administration
HUD’s Contingency Plan states that FHA will endorse new loans in the Single Family Mortgage Loan Program except for HECM loans. It will not make new commitments in the Multi-family Program during the shutdown. FHA will maintain operational activities including paying claims and collecting premiums. FHA Contractors managing the REO/HUD Homes portfolio can continue to operate. Some delays with FHA processing may occur due to short staffing. Read more about these delays(link is external).
Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs)
During previous shutdowns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have continued normal operations since they are not reliant on appropriated funds. On December 26th both GSEs updated or clarified their loan purchase requirements in case of a shutdown. Freddie Mac requires all borrowers to sign a 4506T request form prior to close, but the request does not have to be processed prior to close. Fannie Mae requires the same unless the borrower’s income can be verified though Fannie Mae’s proprietary Desktop Underwriter verification system in which case no 4506T is required.
Internal Revenue Service
The IRS will close and suspend the processing of all forms, including requests for tax return transcripts (Form 4506T). While FHA and VA do not require these transcripts, they are required by many lenders for many kinds of loans, including FHA and VA. Delays can be expected if the shutdown continues. Some loan originators may adopt revised policies during the shutdown, such as allowing for processing and closings with income verification to follow, as long as the borrower has signed a Form 4506T requesting IRS tax transcripts. On loans requiring a Form 4506T, see the GSE section above for additional details.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
After NFIP operations were initially suspended over questions raised by government attorneys, NAR worked with the White House and Congress to clarify that the government shutdown does not affect the sale or renewal of flood insurance policies or the payment of claims on existing policies. Disaster relief, airport screenings and other essential homeland security functions are unaffected. View the FEMA release(link is external) resuming the full and normal operations of the NFIP.
Rural Housing Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not issue new rural housing Direct Loans or Guaranteed Loans. Scheduled closings of Direct Loans will not occur. Scheduled closings of Guaranteed Loans without the guarantee previously issued will be closed at the lender’s own risk.
Visa Programs – EB-5 and H-2B
Until the shutdown ends and the Regional Center EB-5 program extension is signed into law, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program is suspended and no new I-526 petitions can be filed. Investors must continue to file timely responses to USCIS Requests for Evidence (RFE) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID). In addition, investors may continue to prepare and file I-829 petitions.
While the Department of Labor was funded for 2019, the Department of Homeland Security was not. Therefore, while the H-2B Temporary Worker Visa program is still operational for workers currently in the U.S., the DHS is unable to approve any new or returning workers under an H-2B visa.
Changes to the itemized deductions for 2018.
The new tax law suspended the deduction for personal casualty and theft losses. Personal casualty and theft losses are now deductible only to the extent they’re attributable to a Federally declared disaster. The claims have to include the FEMA code that was assigned to the disaster as well.
Changes to the new tax law.
Beginning 2018, the new tax law eliminated the deductions for job related expenses and other miscellaneous itemized deductions, so this is going to include things like tax preparation fees, investment expenses, uniforms, union dues. Unreimbursed employee expenses like vehicle expenses, meals, entertainment and travel. Those have all been eliminated.
Employee business expense deductions are now limited to Armed Forces reservists, employees with impairment related work expenses, qualified performing artists and fee-basis State or local government officials.
Alesha Tardieff, DANETTE ONEAL REALTORS, Inc.
Pay delays; More than 420,000 federal employees, including workers from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other law enforcement and correctional officers, will remain on the job but won’t be paid until the shutdown ends.
Pay uncertainty; Another 380,000 federal workers will be furloughed, meaning they are off the job. That includes almost all NASA employees and large portions of the Commerce Department, Housing and Urban Development and Forest and National Park Service workers. These workers won’t be paid and it’s not guaranteed they will recoup the lost money, though Congress has generally approved back pay in their appropriations bill.
What’s closed; National Parks, SBA, Farm and AgricultureThe Internal Revenue Service has furloughed most of its customer service support staff.
What will continue:
Social Security checks, and Medicare and Medicaid will not be interrupted during the shutdown but there could be delays in processing.
- The U.S. military will be on the job and paid at its normal time.
- Mail delivery through the U.S. Postal Service will continue uninterrupted