Courts Warn Money Running Out, Revise Funding Amid Shutdown (2)

Jan. 15, 2019, 9:20 PM; Updated: Jan. 15, 2019, 10:19 PM

The federal judiciary has revised its funding outlook amid cost-cutting driven by the partial government shutdown and can continue present operations through Jan. 25. But it also warned that it will run out of money at some point “in the near future” without a congressional appropriation.

Cracks in the justice system are already beginning to show as federal agents, prosecutors, and public defenders face funding challenges and anxiety mounts for public servants unsure of how long they can stave off mounting debts.

Various actors across the system worry about how long it can survive at this rate. Federal courts have been running on non-appropriated funds derived from court fees and “no-year” funds since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts projected that that funding would run out Jan. 18. But it revised its estimate today.

“The additional week of funding was attributed to aggressive efforts to reduce expenditures,” a courts office spokeswoman said.

“In recent weeks, courts and federal public defender offices have delayed or deferred non-mission critical expenses, such as new hires, non-case related travel, and certain contracts,” she said. “Judiciary employees are reporting to work and currently are in full-pay status.”

“The Judiciary is continuing these cost-cutting efforts, in the hopes of sustaining operations past Jan. 25, but at some point in the near future, existing funds will run out if new appropriated funds do not become available,” the spokeswoman said.

—With Jordan Rubin

(adds more background on shutdown throughout, snapshot )

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com

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