Understanding the Implications of a Potential Government Shutdown on TTB Submissions
The clock is ticking, and with every passing moment, the possibility of a federal government shutdown seems more likely. This looming uncertainty stems from Congress's ongoing disagreements about federal government funding. With a deadline of midnight on Saturday to finalize and agree on funding measures, the chance of preventing a government shutdown is dwindling.
A shutdown would directly impact various federal agencies, including the Alcohol Tax Trade and Tobacco Bureau (TTB). The good folks at the TTB who process and approve permit applications are, unfortunately, deemed “non-essential.” For those in the alcohol beverage industry, this is particularly concerning.
A government shutdown means an immediate halt to all TTB-related applications and processes. Simple tasks, such as submitting transfer in bonds (TIBs) or uploading Power of Attorney forms, will be left pending. Applications already in the pipeline will remain in limbo, waiting for a deal to be struck in Congress.
Furthermore, if the shutdown persists for an extended period, it could lead to a daunting backlog of applications. This backlog will present a monumental challenge for TTB agents once the government reopens, as they'll be tasked with processing the accumulated applications.
Despite the looming shutdown and the accompanying uncertainties, it's essential to acknowledge the diligent efforts of TTB agents, who are working extended hours on both weekdays and weekends to mitigate potential backlogs by processing as many applications as possible.
In our experience as liquor law attorneys, the dedication of these agents are nothing short of remarkable. Just this week, with the assistance of a devoted TTB agent, we managed to process a brewery application in less than a week, a testament to the TTB’s commitment even in the face of this adversity. Transfers in bond approvals happen shortly after filing.
Remember that these TTB agents will be forced to go without paychecks in the event of a government shutdown. As we navigate these uncertain times, we urge everyone to show compassion and understanding. If you're working with a TTB agent, please remember they are in a challenging situation, and give them your patience and support.
In conclusion, while we hope for a swift resolution in Congress to prevent the shutdown, let's take a moment to recognize and appreciate the TTB agents who are working diligently to serve the alcohol beverage industry in the face of tremendous pressure. Therefore, applicants must take care to submit their TTB applications as soon as possible to avoid delays. When and if a shutdown occurs, please be patient, as there will be a significant backlog.
For information about national and state liquor law matters or general manufacturing and distribution advice, please contact our Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing, and Distribution Practice Group: Liquor Law Department Chair Theodore J. Zeller III, Esquire; David C. Berger, Esquire, for Pennsylvania and New Jersey retail and manufacturing licensing; Anthony M. Brichta, Esquire, for federal manufacturing, distribution, formula, and labeling issues; Benjamin P. Sheppard, Esquire, for general state and federal licensing questions including TTB filings; or contact our office at (610) 391-1800.