Delegation begins to announce office closing plans

With just a few hours to go before the federal government’s funding runs out and non-essential activities must be curtailed, members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation have begun to announce their plans what happens during shutdown.

Sen. Al Franken (DFL)

Sen. Al Franken’s office says that while Franken considered all of his staff essential, “…the Senator has defined “essential” as people who are advising him on the government spending bill and those who are on hand to respond to constituent emergencies.”

According to a member of Franken’s staff, about a dozen staffers are being retained, including caseworkers to handle an emergency requests related to flooding in northwest Minnesota. Franken’s offices throughout the state will be closed.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL)

Klobuchar spokesman Linden Zakula released this brief statement:

“Our most urgent priority is keeping the Moorhead office open during the floods, but we will be furloughing employees in Minnesota and Washington because everyone is going to have to do their part.”

Rep. John Kline (R)

Kline’s spokesman Troy Young said he would continue to work at the district office, but the “majority” of staff would be furloughed if the government closes.

Rep. Chip Cravaack (R)

Cravaack’s spokesman Shawn Ryan confirmed he would continue to work through a shutdown but when asked about the district office and plans to furlough other staff, said in an email, “That decision will be made if and when the government shuts down.”

Rep. Tim Walz (DFL)

Walz’s office said it would announce its staffing plans later this evening “when a shutdown becomes imminent.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL)

Rep. Keith Ellison’s offices in Washington and Minneapolis will remain open and his entire staff will be retained through any government shutdown.

“I’ve designated all my employees essential because they are,” Ellison told MPR News. “I cannot carry out all the flood of questions that are going to be coming in by myself.”

Rep. Betty McCollum (DFL)

Here’s the statement put out by McCollum’s office:

“Shutting down the federal government has been the tea party Republicans’ goal since last November. Any temporary shutdown of the federal government can only be called a short-sighted, hollow victory for tea party extremism over common sense compromise. Their victory is a loss for the American people.

“I believe compromise was possible and continues to be possible. My job is not to shut down government, but to work for the families and constituents I was elected to serve. On Monday morning my offices in St. Paul and Washington will be open for business. My staff and I will not be held hostage by these destructive tea party tactics. We will be working to serve the residents of Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District.”

We’ll continue to update this post as we learn more from the various offices.

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