WASHINGTON – With the House and Senate locked in stalemate, the Office of Management and Budget formally began shutting down the government late Monday, ordering federal agencies to prepare for funding to expire and to execute contingency plans.
“Unfortunately, we do not have a clear indication that Congress will act in time for the president to sign a continuing resolution before the end of the day tomorrow, Oct. 1, 2013. Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations,” wrote OMB director Sylvia M. Burwell in a memorandum circulated at 11:45 p.m. Eastern time.
The federal government was shut down twice in 1995-96, when Bill Clinton was president and Newt Gingrich was the speaker of the House, but has not closed since then.
Burwell, as President Obama did repeatedly Monday, urged Congress to pass short-term legislation that would extend the funding for the remainder of the fiscal year and “restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.”
In a message broadcast to U.S. military personnel at midnight, Obama said, “Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility. It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again.”
The Office of Management and Budget will provide further guidance for federal employees, Burwell said. Many employees were planning to go to work for part of the day Tuesday to collect belongings and return federal equipment, such as phones or computers. Those workers deemed exempt from the order will continue to work.
“We greatly appreciate your cooperation and the work you and your agencies do on behalf of the American people,” Burwell wrote.