Iran: sanctions may suffer
The White House is warning that the U.S. sanctions against Iran may suffer because of the shutdown. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Treasury office that handles sanctions had to furlough nearly its entire staff. He said the office can’t sustain its core functions, including sanctions on Iran, Syria, terrorist groups and drug cartels. The office also investigates and penalizes sanctions violators. The warning came as Israel and many U.S. lawmakers say they’re concerned about the U.S. easing sanctions as it explores diplomacy with Iran. Obama insists that House Republicans hold a vote to reopen the government but they have been passing bills only to reopen popular parts of it.
courts: Some delays likely
The federal government shutdown is having an impact on the court system, with U.S. attorneys shelving most civil prosecutions and immigration courts closed except for the most pressing cases. A Justice Department directive says U.S. attorneys will continue to handle criminal cases without interruption “to maintain the safety of human life and the protection of property.” The department says civil cases are to be “curtailed or postponed” to the extent that can be done without compromising to a significant degree the safety of human life or the protection of property. Nationwide, U.S. attorneys’ offices are operating at 63 percent of their normal staffing levels, counting non-lawyers and lawyers.
back pay: Obama backs GOP bill
The Obama administration says it supports House legislation to give back pay to federal workers furloughed during the shutdown. The White House Office of Management and Budget commended Congress for moving quickly on the bill, which has bipartisan support. The White House has opposed other piecemeal efforts by House Republicans to restore money to some functions of government, instead favoring a bill that would open the entire government. The budget office statement said the back-pay bill “will not address the serious consequences of the funding lapse, nor will a piecemeal approach to appropriations bills.”