As you've probably noticed, the bickering over a dumb fence most attentive folks realize will never be fully funded or built has resulted in the government partially shutting down, leaving roughly 800,000 government employees furloughed without pay. As garbage and human waste begin to pile up at our under-staffed park system, the FCC this week also announced it would be suspending all but the most essential operations as of last Thursday, with 1,197 of the FCC’s 1,442 employees now left unpaid.
According to the FCC, all investigations into fraud (admittedly few and far between with this FCC), merger review, management of spectrum, and approval and testing of new electronics will grind to a halt. And while the agency's 911 and network outage complaint systems will remain operational, there will be nobody staffing the agency to respond to consumer or company complaints. The agency did note that things like its ongoing spectrum auction would continue, since the auction is funded by spectrum sale proceeds:
"However, work required for the protection of life and property will continue, as will any work related to spectrum auctions, which is funded by auction proceeds. In addition, the Office of the Inspector General will continue operations until further notice."
While he'll obviously be hamstrung by a lack of resources, Ajit Pai will continue to work, though the shutdown forced him to cancel a scheduled appearance at CES in Las Vegas. It's technically the second year in a row the FCC boss has had to cancel his planned CES appearance, since last year's visit was also scuttled after Pai began receiving death threats due to his historically-unpopular attacks on consumer protections like net neutrality.
Worry not though! Pai took to Twitter to joke that he'll still be around to thwart the use of naughty words on television:
I'll be on the job for the duration and there's also a sufficiently long statute of limitations, @NotThatRKelly, so I'd advise against trying any &$^#*%! https://t.co/DKEvr4k9or
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) January 3, 2019
While many will likely (and quite correctly) joke that a shuttered Pai FCC isn't likely to be much different from an operational Pai FCC given his apathy toward actually doing anything to help consumers or small businesses, the 1,197 FCC employees currently not getting paid over an idiotic fight over metal slats likely aren't finding this all that funny. And while a shutdown of a few days probably won't be all that big of a deal, a longer shutdown is going to spell trouble not just for Pai's unpopular agenda, but also for the oodles of notably less controversial, frequently mundane but essential tasks the FCC engage in on a daily basis.