CNMI Government Shutdown Threatened

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Guam – As of  7pm Thursday evening, the CNMI was just hours away from a government shutdown after the CNMI House and Senate failed to come to an agreement on the budget for the next fiscal year Thursday afternoon.

The Director of the Saipan Chamber of  Commerce, Kyle Calabrese, informed PNC News that the CNMI House leadership announced they needed more time to consider the Senate’s compromise budget bill. As a result, all non-essential CNMI Government services were scheduled to be shut-down as of midnight Thursday.

Both chambers continue to disagree on a number of issues on their versions of the $132 million appropriations measure, the most contentious of which is the number of work hour cuts for civil servants.

While the House is championing a 16-hour work cut per pay period and 13 unpaid holidays, the Senate is proposing only eight hours per pay period and seven unpaid holidays.

A government shutdown would temporarily send over 1,400 workers out of jobs and close many public services.