Tillerson: 'We're ready' if shutdown happens

Tillerson: 'We're ready' if shutdown happens
© Keren Carrion

Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE said Thursday that his department is prepared for a potential government shutdown, though he hopes lawmakers can reach a deal ahead of a Friday funding deadline.

"We’re ready if that’s what happens," Tillerson said during an appearance with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi at the State Department. "We hope not. We hope not, but we're ready."

The potential for a government shutdown was also addressed earlier on Thursday by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, who said in a press briefing that the agency was developing contingency plans, just in case.


She said that Tillerson's office is reviewing all available options in the event of a government shutdown and that the secretary would ultimately have discretion over how the department copes with a lapse in funding.

"We will be prepared for all contingencies, I want to make that clear, including the possibility of a lapse," Nauert said.

Lawmakers have until midnight on Friday to pass a new spending measure.

Most Americans only deal with the State Department when trying to obtain or renew passports. But the last time the government shut down, in 2013, U.S. passport offices stayed open.

That's because passport and consular services are funded by fee revenue. Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman during the Obama administration, said in 2013 that those services "pay for themselves," allowing the offices to stay open.

--Updated on Jan. 19 at 10:27 a.m.