TTB Suspends Operations Amid Government Shutdown

As the partial shutdown of the U.S. government stretches into its fifth day, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has officially closed.

A temporary landing page on the agency’s website states that alcohol companies will still be able to access the TTB website to make electronic payments, submit labels or formulas, and to file other operational reports, but TTB employees will “not be able to respond to questions or comments submitted via the website until appropriations are enacted.”

The TTB, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, will suspend all “non-excepted TTB operations,” according to a notice posted to its website.

When the government was on the verge of a shutdown last December, the TTB issued a “Shutdown Plan.” According to that document, non-excepted activities included “all non-criminal investigative activities, audit functions, examination of returns, processing of tax returns that do not include remittances.”

At the time, the TTB expected 51 of its 478 employees to continue working during the shutdown.

The current posting on the TTB website also informs visitors that “operations will fully resume when appropriations are reenacted.”

“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,” the website reads.

As of press time, it’s unclear how many TTB employees will continue working during the current government shutdown, or how long the shutdown will last.

“We hope members of Congress and the President negotiate a swift end to this government shutdown so the TTB and other agencies that impact the beer industry get back up and running [and] so Americans can continue to enjoy innovations in their favorite alcohol beverage – beer,” Jim McGreevy, the CEO of trade association the Beer Institute, wrote to Brewbound.

In a series of Tweets posted over the Christmas holiday, President Donald Trump indicated the government would not reopen until Congressional Democrats approved $5.7 billion in funding for the construction of a wall along the southern border of the U.S.

“I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!”

This is the third shutdown of the federal government in 2018. It closed for three days in late January as Senate Democrats and Republicans argued over the issue of immigration. Less than a month later, there was a “funding gap” for approximately nine hours on February 9, although no government services were disrupted.

The shutdown, which White House officials have said could last into 2019, comes after Trump and House Republicans refused to accept a short-term spending bill that would have funded the government until February 8, 2019.

ShipCompliant and Compli, two companies that offer compliance services and software to alcohol producers, recently published blogs on what businesses could expect during the shutdown.

Additionally, the Brewers Association posted a blog earlier this year outlining how a government shutdown impacts small and independent breweries.

When the federal government shutdown for 16 days in 2013, applications and label submissions were backlogged and some breweries expressed concerns that the release of new beers and seasonal offerings could be delayed as a result.

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