A survey of Federal News Network readers revealed that the vast majority of federal employees who responded feel the current impeachment hearings have no impact on their ability to do their work. But they were more evenly divided when asked whether they worried the hearings would endanger prospects of full-year funding, or even cause a government shutdown.
More than 400 respondents, or 76.27% of the total, said the hearings would have no impact on their ability to do their jobs, even though more than half said they were paying “a little,” “some” or “a lot” of attention to the hearings during the workday. In fact, one respondent said they are actually getting more work done.
“For the first time ever, all the office and ops center TVs are off. Work pace has actually improved,” the employee said.
But concern is spreading that the impeachment hearings are monopolizing what little legislative time remains in the year to the detriment of budget negotiations. Only 26.83% of respondents were unconcerned about the prospects for full-year funding. On the other end of the spectrum, 29.27% were concerned “a great deal.” The remainder was split between “a moderate amount” and “a little,” at 23.26% and 20.26%, respectively.
Some respondents commented that they expected — but made clear they were not excited about — a series of continuing resolutions. Others said Congress should be more concerned with passing a budget than with partisan politics.
Respondents are similarly split over whether or not to worry about a possible government shutdown. Almost 25% said they’re concerned “a great deal,” while just over 26% said “not at all.” “A moderate amount” and “a little” each got almost 22%, and just 4.5% of respondents said they were “unsure.”
Some respondents commented that the shutdown cloud has loomed since before the impeachment inquiry started, while others said shutdowns are the new normal. One respondent said simply “They really aren’t that stupid – are they?”
Respondents who said they were paying attention are mostly doing so digitally. Almost 60% said they were following through traditional news websites. About 21% said they were following on social media, and almost 20% said they were watching online. Only about 25% said they were watching coverage on TV.
The last time the House held impeachment hearings, there was no Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other digital outlets that are now such an important part of the daily news cycle. In fact, back in 1998, televisions in most federal offices were only for a select few executives. News of the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton could be avoided for the most part 21 years ago during the workday.
And that’s still the pattern some feds seem to be following: Ignore during the day, then catch up at night.
“I have been paying attention in the evenings, watching them on PBS or online if available,” one respondent said. “But during the work day I am actually working.”