OMB Braces for Unlikely Government Shutdown

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By Cheryl Bolen

The Office of Management and Budget is following required procedures to prepare for a possible government shutdown after April 28, but White House officials stressed that they strongly believe no shutdown will occur.

The federal government is currently operating on a continuing resolution that is set to expire at midnight on April 28. A bill to fund the government through the Sept. 30 end of fiscal year 2017 is being negotiated, but no final agreement has been reached.

Federal agencies began in earnest in March 2011 updating their required contingency plans with an eye toward a potential government shutdown. Because of the frequency of the shutdown threat, agencies now update their plans every two years.

No Lapse Expected

OMB is required to convene an agency meeting or conference call one week before the expiration of appropriations, regardless of whether a funding agreement appears imminent.

“While we do not expect a lapse, prudence and common sense require routine assessments to be made,” said OMB Director Mick Mulvaney in a statement.

The government shut down for 16 days in October 2013 during the Obama administration. Shortly after, OMB said the shutdown cost the federal government more than $2 billion in lost productivity and caused $2 billion to $6 billion in lost economic output.

Priorities Without Shutdown

Negotiators have yet to reach agreement this year, in large part because of a funding request by President Donald Trump to start building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Democrats are refusing to agree to those funds.

“I think we’ve made it very clear that we want border wall funding, we want greater latitude to deny federal grants to sanctuary cities, we want hiring of immigration agents and we want $30 billion to infuse the military budget,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. “Those are our priorities.”

That being said, the WhIte House is continuing to work with House and Senate leaders to find a way forward, Spicer said. “But I think we feel confident that that will happen, that we will avoid a shutdown,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cheryl Bolen in Washington at cbolen@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at pHendrie@bna.com

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