OMB head 'not optimistic' about avoiding a government shutdown
Congress is back this week with a short clock to pass a 2024 budget or extend the existing stopgap measures funding the government.
White House budget director Shalanda Young told reporters on Friday that she's "not optimistic" about avoiding a government shutdown when the current stopgap bills funding government agencies expire in the coming weeks.
Congress will be back in session this week to confront that possible government shutdown as well as requests for supplemental appropriations for wars in Ukraine and Israel. House Republicans and some in the Senate are signaling that they would back a shutdown if their demands for new policies and funding for border security aren't met.
Currently the federal government is being funded by two continuing resolutions, with a Jan. 19 expiration date for discretionary funds at the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Energy as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and military construction. A second provision funding the Pentagon, the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Treasury, State and more expires Feb. 2.
On Wednesday, more than 60 House Republicans led by Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., visited the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas to press the administration for concessions on immigration policy.
"If the Biden administration does not shut the border down, we'll shut the government down. We control the money," Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told reporters during the visit.
Young quoted that comment and told reporters that "there are a growing number of House Republicans with this mindset. So I wouldn't say pessimistic [about a shutdown] but I'm not optimistic."
With just a few exceptions, federal agencies updated their contingency plans in the event of a shutdown in the runup to the close of fiscal 2023. In the event of a shutdown, many essential functions will be allowed to continue, with employees temporarily foregoing paychecks. Furloughed employees will be paid for missed time when their agencies reopen.
Some operations on the tech side will suffer under a shutdown: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will only retain about 30% of its workforce in that event. Some activities, such as the Technology Modernization Fund, that are paid for by working capital funds, no-year money or administrative fees will be allowed to continue operating with phased shutdowns in the event of a prolonged lapse in appropriations.