White House puts shutdown contingency plans in play

The Obama administration has ramped up its contingency plans for a government shutdown as a budget deal looks increasingly unlikely.

While Obama met with Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern ObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE (D-Nev.) just down the hall in the Oval Office, Jeff Zients, the administration's point man for shutdown contingency plans, told reporters that the Office of Management and Budget began letting federal employees know Thursday if they will be furloughed in the event of a shutdown.

Zients ticked off a list of services that would cease at midnight Friday if Democrats and Republicans fail to reach an agreement on a deal that would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

ADVERTISEMENT
One example Zients gave was that U.S. military members will continue fighting the country’s wars, but they will not be receiving paychecks.

“They will continue to earn their money, but they will not receive paychecks,” Zients said.

Even White House staff would be scaled back significantly, with a number of political appointees joining federal workers in being furloughed.

OMB Director Jack LewJack LewOne year later, the Iran nuclear deal is a success by any measure Chinese President Xi says a trade war hurts the US and China Overnight Finance: Price puts stock trading law in spotlight | Lingering questions on Trump biz plan | Sanders, Education pick tangle over college costs MORE on Thursday afternoon began officially informing federal agencies of what they can and cannot do if the government shuts down, and employees began receiving notice of furloughs on Thursday.

Zients said OMB has been planning for shutdown contingencies for weeks, but the office stepped up its work this week. Zients emphasized that the administration is hopeful a shutdown can be averted.

“We're taking these steps because responsible management demands it,” Zients said.

Zients said OMB is not giving employees who would be furloughed a worst-case scenario about how long a shutdown could last.

But even a brief shutdown that lasts a few days would have a significant and detrimental effect on the economic recovery, Zients said.