US government shutdown halts TTB operations

2nd January, 2019 by Melita Kiely

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has been forced to cease operating while the US federal government’s shutdown continues.

American whiskey

The TTB has been affected by the US government’s partial shutdown

The agency, which is responsible for licensing and label approval of alcohol products in the US, including spirits, has created a temporary landing page on its website stating alcohol companies can still access the TTB site to make payments, submit labels or formulas, and to file other operational reports.

However, it continues to explain that the TTB will “not be able to respond to questions or comments submitted via the website until appropriations are enacted”, and employees have been instructed not to go to work.

The statement continued: “TTB will suspend all non-excepted TTB operations, and no personnel will be available to respond to any inquiries, including emails, telephone calls, facsimiles, or other communications.

“The website and operations will fully resume when appropriations are re-enacted. TTB has directed employees not to report to work and they are prohibited by federal law from volunteering their services during a lapse in appropriations.

“Once funding has been restored and the government shutdown is over, we will work to restore regular service as soon as possible.”

The US government is currently in its 12th day of a partial shutdown due to a political gridlock regarding US$5 billion of federal funding for president Donald Trump’s border wall between the US and Mexico.

As Congress was unable to find a resolution to the president’s demand to add US$5bn to a spending bill ahead of the deadline, the shutdown started on 22 December 2018.

As a result of the shutdown, thousands of government employees of agencies deemed non-essential have been made to take temporary, unpaid leave until politicians can agree on a funding bill. Meanwhile others working in roles considered essential for the protection of life and property will keep working without pay.

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