White House to Agencies: Prepare for a Shutdown
An update this week from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget has directed agencies to begin preparing for a government shutdown, preparing federal employees for the prospect that Congress and the White House are unable to reach an agreement on a budget or continuing resolution before this Thursday’s midnight deadline, when appropriated government funds are set to run out.
During the Obama Administration, OMB guidance to agencies required that respective agency shutdown plans be updated at least every two years, starting when the guidance was issued in 2015. However, according to Government Executive, while “nearly all agencies refreshed their documents spelling out who would or would not be furloughed in September of that year…only a handful have done so since that time.”
The list of agency contingency plans on the White House website indicates that only 10 of the 145 listed agency plans have been updated in the past two years, with all ten updated plans being submitted this past Monday, and with most of the new submissions coming from small agencies such as the “Corporation for National and Community Service” and the “Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.”
The U.S. House of Representatives has in recent days been debating a measure that would push the government shutdown back by two weeks. But the measure’s fate is uncertain, with a spokesman from the minority party in the House Appropriations Committee saying, “Ordinarily, the rationale for agreeing to pass a temporary CR and give the majority more time is if there is a reason to believe we are heading in the right direction toward getting a bipartisan full-year spending package enacted. I’m not sure we know that yet.”
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