White House Warns Agencies to Prepare for Possible Shutdown as Budget Vote Stalls

| FEB 9, 2018 | 1:58 AM
Screen-Shot-2018-02-08-at-8.27.25-PM-e1518139755964-1024x512

Time/YouTube

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has warned government agencies to prepare for a possible shutdown as Congress tries to pass a two-year budget deal ahead of a midnight deadline Thursday.

“The Office of Management and Budget is currently preparing for a lapse in appropriations,” an agency official said Thursday night, according to Reuters.

After House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) eight-hour speech Wednesday calling for the inclusion of a solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the deal, the House and Senate were set to vote on the budget, which includes a stopgap funding bill, Thursday evening.

But before the vote took place, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held up proceedings by demanding a Senate vote on an amendment to keep budget ceilings in place, according to The Hill.

The deal, which would raise budget caps by about $300 billion and raise the debt ceiling through March 2019, has been slammed by budget hawks in Congress who set fiscal responsibility in government as a priority.

“I can’t in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits,” said Paul in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, according to The Washington Post.

Senate leaders have reportedly been pleading with Paul to allow the budget deal to proceed.

“My friend and colleague from Kentucky does not join the president in supporting the bill. ... But I would argue that it's time to vote,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

Should Paul insist on an amendment vote, it would push proceedings past the midnight deadline, resulting in a government shutdown.

Senate leaders have voiced confidence the deal will pass eventually, although the delays may push a vote to early Friday morning.

But according to the Post, OMB spokesman John Czwartacki has said that “agencies are now being urged to review and prepare for lapse."