White House budget office prepares agencies for possible shutdown

White House budget office prepares agencies for possible shutdown
© Greg Nash

The White House budget office is preparing for the possibility of a government shutdown as Republican leaders scramble to reach a funding deal by the end of this week.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials held a conference call with federal agencies on Dec. 1 to ensure that they are planning for a potential funding lapse. Current money runs out midnight on Friday.

Such calls are required exactly one week before funding expires, OMB said, regardless of whether that scenario seems likely or not. 


During past calls warning of a shutdown, OMB officials have urged agencies to begin preparing notices to all employees, as well as a list of “essential” employees who would continue working in the event of a shutdown.

“Prudent management requires that agencies be prepared for the possibility of a lapse,” a spokeswoman said.

President Trump said Wednesday that a shutdown “could happen,” and that if it does, Democrats would be to blame.

But conservative factions within the GOP are debating with Republican leadership about their short-term spending strategy.

They are inching toward a deal that would involve a two-week continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through Dec. 22, but the House Freedom Caucus and defense hawks want leadership to pass a separate defense spending bill along with the next second CR that will be needed.