They may not get a White Christmas in Washington D.C. this year, but the federal employees have the White House to thank for an extra day off. That’s because on Tuesday night, the president issued an executive order that excused federal employees from duty on December 24th, Christmas Eve. All federal offices will be officially closed.
Under the order: “All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Monday, December 24, 2018, the day before Christmas Day.
“The heads of executive departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 24, 2018, for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.”
Last year, Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday so federal workers did not get a long weekend.
Civil servants are usually given the day off when Christmas falls on a Tuesday, as it does this year. President Barack Obama gave federal employees a four-day weekend in 2012. President George Bush did the same in 2007 and in 2001.
Trump’s order come as the possibility of a federal shutdown looms. Democrats and Republicans have until Friday to come up with a funding deal to keep a partial government shutdown from happening.
Without a resolution, more than 800,000 government workers could be furloughed or sent to work without pay beginning at midnight Friday, disrupting government operations days before Christmas.
One option that now seems possible on Capitol Hill would be to simply approve government funding at existing levels. This would mean there would not be a boost for the border and it would serve as a stopgap measure to kick the issue into the new Congress next month.
The chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., confirmed late Tuesday his office was preparing legislation to keep government funded into February. The White House preference was for a longer-term package.