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White House prepares agencies for possible government shutdown

by Adam Russett on April 5, 2011

Democrats and Republicans have until Friday to come to an agreement about the budget before a number of government agencies will be shut down. President Obama has already ordered federal bodies to be ready for a possible standstill if the two parties can't reach a compromise in the coming days, according to Reuters.

"We are aware of the calendar, and to be prudent and prepare for the chance that Congress may not pass a funding bill in time, on Monday OMB [White House Office of Management and Budget] encouraged agency heads to begin sharing their contingency plans with senior managers throughout their organization to ensure that they have their feedback and input," OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer said in a statement.

There has been a fierce debate about which sectors and programs should be cut in order to combat the national deficit. Republicans have repeatedly aimed at Planned Parenthood and healthcare reform, but it seems that those deals may be off the table.

To buy another week of time, the parties have created a second stopgap measure with two riders, according to Fox News. One would ban federal and local money from paying for abortions in the D.C. area and another would require that the secretary of defense certify each detainee from Guantanamo Bay for transferral.

House Republicans, for their part, seem less adverse to a shutdown.

"Because of the Senate's failure to do its job and pass legislation to cut spending and fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, Speaker Boehner made clear we have no choice but to prepare the House, and the American people, for a shutdown," one statement read, USA Today reports.

In the event of a government shutdown, services that are considered essential would continue to function. However, national parks and museums, government applications such as visas and even Social Security checks could be affected or shut down completely, according to The Christian Science Monitor.  

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