OMB Puts Agencies on Stand-By for Possible Shutdown

Sylvia Mathews Burwell late Tuesday instructed agency heads to update their contingency plans in a memo. Sylvia Mathews Burwell late Tuesday instructed agency heads to update their contingency plans in a memo. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell late Tuesday instructed agency heads to update their contingency plans in the event that Congress fails to enact a stopgap spending bill by the end of fiscal 2013 at midnight on Monday, Sept. 30.

In a memorandum to agency heads, Burwell said, “The administration does not want a lapse in appropriations to occur. 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 critical government operations and allow Congress the time to complete the full year 2014 appropriations. However, prudent management requires that agencies be prepared for the possibility of a lapse.”

Reminding agencies of similar guidance released in 2011 and 2012, the OMB chief cited standing rules on which activities may be exempted from a freeze prompted by any lapse in appropriations. She referred agency questions to Joe Jordan, OMB's administrator for federal procurement policy, and Geovette Washington, OMB's general counsel.

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