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OMB issues guidance for government shutdown

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Agencies should prepare for a government shutdown by updating what programs would be exempt from a shutdown and which employees would be necessary for the agency's continued performance of those programs, a Sept. 17 Office of Management and Budget memo says.

The memo (.pdf) says OMB will issue further guidance if the shutdown actually happens, but that there "is enough time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations, and the administration is willing to work with Congress to enact a short-term continuing resolution" to fund the government.

But passing a CR in both chambers might not be easy.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pledged Wednesday to attach an amendment to the CR that would defund the Affordable Care Act.

"This week, the House will pass a CR that locks the sequester savings in, and defunds Obamacare," Boehner said at a Sept. 18 press conference.

House leadership previously proposed a CR that would set temporary funding at slightly less than sequestration levels; leadership hoped to get the bill through the House by tying it to a concurrent resolution that would defund the ACA. House rank-and-file ensured the proposal never came to a vote, since the Senate would have been able to vote down the healthcare defunding measure and send the CR directly to the White House for signature. 

In a Sept. 16 speech, President Obama chided Republicans, calling on Congress to pass a budget and "get it done without triggering another crisis, without shutting down our government, or worse, threatening not to pay this country's bills."

"I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can't get 100 percent of what it wants," Obama said.

For more:
- download the OMB memo (.pdf)
- go to Boehner's Sept. 18 press statement and video
- go to Obama's Sept. 17 speech text

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