The federal judiciary now estimates it has enough funds to sustain paid operations through Jan. 25, knocking back the deadline it expects to run out of money as the partial government shutdown continues with no end in sight.
The announcement marks the second time the judiciary has knocked back the date it expects to run out of money while Congress and President Donald Trump grapple over funding for a wall along the border separating the United States and Mexico. The Administrative Office previously estimated it would run out of funds on Jan. 18.
The judiciary was able to move back the Jan. 18 deadline due to aggressive efforts to reduce spending, according to a spokesperson for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The judiciary is continuing those efforts in an attempt to keep paid operations going beyond Jan. 25.
“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. Judiciary employees are reporting to work and currently are in full-pay status,” the spokesperson said.
The judiciary is using court fees and other “no-year” funds to sustain operations during the shutdown. The shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, is now the longest in modern history.
The Justice Department has pushed to pause many civil cases across the country in trial and appellate courts, arguing the federal Antideficiency Act generally precludes federal officials from working during a lapse in appropriations. There is an exception for cases involving human life and the protection of property.
Responding to requests from the U.S. Justice Department, some federal district courts have issued orders generally suspending civil litigation that involves federal agencies. A Jan. 7 advisory from the Administrative Office said “criminal cases are expected to proceed uninterrupted.”