White House instructs agencies to prepare for possible shutdown

[United States], Feb 9: The White House has instructed the federal agencies to prepare for a possible government shutdown as Congress moved closer to the midnight Thursday deadline without passing a funding bill.

“The Office of Management and Budget is currently preparing for a lapse in appropriations. As we stated earlier today, we support the Bipartisan Budget Act and urge Congress to send it to the president’s desk without delay,” the OMB official said.

Several media reports stated that the OMB (Office of Management) official noted that the office is preparing for funding to lapse as a Senate stalemate drags on with only hours until current funding expires.

Some government agencies will run out of money and have to furlough workers if Congress lets funding lapse. A shutdown would be the second in less than a month.

Congressional negotiators were scrambling earlier on Thursday to lock in enough votes in the House, on a two-year budget deal that would add $300 billion to the federal deficit. However, Sen. Rand Paul objected to moving toward passing the plan.

All senators needed to support the move to hold a vote on Thursday.

The Kentucky Republican is pushing for an amendment to maintain budget caps, but Senate sources say leaders have no plan to give Paul such a concession, meaning that he can continue to prevent a vote until after midnight, when government funding runs out, CNN reported.

The overall deal also does not address the immigration issue, a key sticking point for many Democrats; but it does increase spending caps by $300 billion for the Pentagon and domestic priorities.

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