This emphatically does not rule out the shutdown trap hypothesis that I presented. It will take some time for reorganization plans to be prepared, but once they are revealed after the 30-day deadline is reached, the "shutdown furloughs" become "administrative furloughs," and the RIF layoffs are possible.
As the anonymous senior Trump administration official whom I quoted yesterday noted, in the absence of bureaucrats with time on their hands and no inclination to help the Trump agenda, a lot is getting accomplished. As that process continues, after the 30-day mark is reached, it will be possible to create a downsizing plan, identifying units that could easily get by with a fraction of their current staff, or even be reorganized out of existence.
The head of the OMB, Mick Mulvaney, currently does not have a lot of spare time, serving as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and as interim White House Chief of Staff (a 24/7 job in its own right). But if he is on board (and why wouldn't he be?), he could well designate a team to prepare quick plans for downsizing, now that the various agencies have seen how little they need so many of the furloughed bureaucrats. That would make the furloughs qualify for RIFs.
Of course, there would be a dispute on when the clock starts ticking on the 30 days – with the original "shutdown furlough" or from the date of the hypothetical downsizing plan I mention. If the latter – a delayed start of the clock ticking – then the pressure on the Democrats to cave in and end the shutdown would amp up. Imagine if Schumer and Pelosi started hearing from federal bureaucrats waiting to be RIFed if another 30 days go by. Would they be willing to say to them that it's more important to have no border barriers than for their jobs to be preserved? They would have a time bomb of layoffs of government employees, a huge Democrat constituency, affecting many individual members of the House with large numbers of federal employee constituents. I can imagine quite a few House Democrats bolting from Pelosi if she persists in the shutdown, refusing to talk or compromise.
If this plan is followed and a downsizing proposal is officially revealed, Trump either gets an end to the shutdown or gets to downsize the federal bureaucracy.