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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 02/23/2011

Federal agencies preparing for shutdown, White House says

By Ed O'Keefe

Federal agencies are preparing to operate at reduced levels if a government shutdown occurs, but the Obama administration hopes to strike a deal with congressional Republicans to avoid one, the White House said Tuesday.

Washington Monument
A 1996 shutdown, due to an impasse between President Bill Clinton and congressional Republicans, closed the Washington Monument. (Dennis Cook)

By March 4, lawmakers must pass a short-term resolution to continue funding the government, or President Obama and congressional leaders can strike a deal on how to fund government operations for the final seven months of fiscal 2011. Failing to do so would prompt at least a partial shutdown affecting various agencies and functions.

"There have been contingency plans for government shutdowns since 1980, and those plans are obviously updated accordingly, but they've been around for a long time," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. The White House hopes to reach an agreement with lawmakers soon, he said.

Continue reading this story >>

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 23, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Government Shutdown, Workplace Issues  
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I think that a government shutdown maybe a good, thing because the government will need to run on a light staff for here on out, if the Republicans get all of their budget cuts. It only goes to show you that if you take billions away from spending, that is billions you are taking out of the economy, and government layoffs are a must, there is a lot of people you can hire with a Billion Dollars directly or indirectly. I hope that I'm wrong but, I think cutting to much from the government budget will hurt the private sector, and unemployment will go up beyond its highest point so far. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

Posted by: BrianEversole | February 23, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that these dusty plans will need some major revision. In 1980 there was no Dept of Homeland Security, etc.

Cleaning up these plans is a major effort. Think how long it takes to update something simple like the teleworking policy. If the administration does not have these plans ready to go (and they don't or employees would already have received instructions) then a lot of chaos will likely occur. People will show up for work who don't need to be there. People will be paid who did not work, or vice-versa. Critical functions will be overlooked because everyone assumed that the employee who did that was on the "critical employee" list. I see a major disaster coming if this closure happens.

Posted by: will4567 | February 23, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

considering what's going on here and in the rest of the world - it would be a pretty STUPID time to consciously choose to shutter the federal government to make a financial point!

Posted by: boblesch | February 23, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I think we ought to shut the feds down and keep only essential services going
we may find that we like the slimmed down fed a lot better.

Posted by: Aldol | February 23, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Since the dems can't "get er dun" the republicans should "shut er down".

Posted by: Straightline | February 23, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I hope congress remembers that the government gives $40 billion dollars to private industry in the form of contracts. Slash and burn will hurt the private sector as well and cause more unemployment claims and loss of income tax revenue and consumer goods spending. All to satisfy teabag extremists who don't seem to mind that $70 billion was lost in tax cuts to those who least needed them.

Posted by: oro78 | February 23, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

If the government shuts down, there should be no pay for no work ... period.

Posted by: mitlen | February 23, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Correct mitlen, and there should be no complaining for no community protection, no consumer protection, no invester protection, no federal benefits, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: oro78 | February 23, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

This would be a great opportunity to identify which federal employees are actually needed.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Does the government shut down also include the house, the senate and their staffs? If one area of the govt is being affected, shouldn't all areas of govt have to take the same medicine? I can imagine the pain connected this this would change the tone of the shut down.

Posted by: glamoursmith | February 23, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Obviously none of you people are government employees. Think of how it would be to suddenly not have a paycheck because some whiny children who have not had their pay or benefits affected can't agree. I don't even make 35,000 a year and I have a college degree. How am I going to pay my bills during a gov't shutdown? Will you wise people tell me that much?

Posted by: u_morris20061 | February 23, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

u_morris20061, get a real job or for once in your life take responsibility for yourself and open a savings account.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

getjiggly1, folks straight outta college with their first job have barely had time to save money. they probably owe more on student loans than what they make in a year.

so shut the f*ck up.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | February 23, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree with vmrg1974, and it is a shame that these people (politicians) get to play around with our lives. As for the shut down, they will get paid regardless, while the "little" people suffer. It crying shame!

Posted by: lrich14501 | February 23, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

And to think I was just bouncing back from the recession...hmm

Posted by: lrich14501 | February 23, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

If you're making 35k in DC, it's time to get the f*ck out of town.

Fracking teabaggers.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the leaders end these useless and wasteful WARS!!! There will be real savings then!

Posted by: fairness3 | February 23, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Thank God. Maybe some of this "Stealth Work" for which President Barry Soetero is famous, may not get done.

Posted by: fregameeate | February 23, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Well it must not be that important since Obama's out campaigning!

Posted by: hebe1 | February 23, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I especially want to say something to mittlen; no work, no pay comment. How about paying me for all the work I do and don't get paid for it? I just finished working a two week project, away from home, 6am to 10pm, 6 days a week. I'll get some compensation, but this week I am on annual leave for two days...guess what, I worked one of my two days off, Stupid me, right? Wrong, I believe in customer service, and take my responsibility as a steward of our tax dollars seriously. I am so tired of disrespect civil servants receive.

Posted by: maralyn33 | February 23, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

While the WAPO devotes numerous stories to a possible shutdown and panic spreads inside the Beltway, those of us in the hinterlands (Remember us? The folks who pay the bills?) don't give a flip. Shut 'er down.

Posted by: Chippewa | February 23, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

u_morris20061, I feel your pain, dude. I am a recent college grad working for the gov't too, and I honestly don't know how I will be able to make ends meet if it lasts for longer than a week.

I never realized working for the public good made the public so angry.

Posted by: thatsfalse | February 23, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how the House rethuglicans will feel about not getting a paycheck if the Government shuts down? Hmmmm.

Posted by: cholly85241 | February 23, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

A Government shut down means:
1. All parties will be more entrenched in their respective positions
2. A shut down will go on for months as passions on both sides run high. Obama, Reid and Boehner will eventually be discredited
3.the government will find it hard to impossible to sell funds for additional deficit spending.
4.From ( 3 ) a bond panic seems likely
5.Our enemies will become more aggressive as our internal weakness becomes more apparent.
6.Troop movement will be more complex as funding sources and alternatives dry up.
7. As in 1995 1996 criminals may be released on recognizance.
8. If any major disasters occurs, response may not exist or be uneven.
9. The anger of the American people could explode in unpredictable ways as the shut down deepens.

Posted by: peterroach | February 23, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

'getjiggly1' talks trash because he's got it made. He makes a decent living as a party DJ. He is hip and happening. You can rent him for weddings or graduation parties. Your party guests will "raise the roof" when 'getjiggly1' is spinning the records. Everyone will be saying "the roof is on fire" and other outdated clich├ęs.

Posted by: goodtoknow | February 23, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

How about instead of a federal shutdown, we have Congress go without pay until they can decide on something useful. Why should federal employees be punished for Congresses mismanagement?

Posted by: ENT4 | February 23, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

vmrg1974 THANK YOU! Getting a decent job in DC/Maryland is tough when you are less than 5 years out of college and cost of living is through the roof.

I am not a teabagger. I am a liberal Democrat and that has nothing to do with this. I just want to be able to pay my bills and live where I want to live. I think you need a reality check and quit being so close minded and rude.

Where did they teach us this in school right?

Posted by: u_morris20061 | February 23, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: u_morris20061 | February 23, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with the Right on many issues, their constant bashing of government employees is not one of them. I've seen just as much waste, fraud, and lack of ethics- in fact WAY more of the above- in my private sector jobs as my current local govt. job. It's crooked politicians that are bankrupting the nation, not the rank and file working stiffs that process forms and inspect water, etc.

Posted by: DaddyDiggity | February 23, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with the Right on many issues, their constant bashing of government employees is not one of them. I've seen just as much waste, fraud, and lack of ethics- in fact WAY more of the above- in my private sector jobs as my current local govt. job. It's crooked politicians that are bankrupting the nation, not the rank and file working stiffs that process forms and inspect water, etc.

Posted by: DaddyDiggity | February 23, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I find it really sad that the government has to shutdown but I understand that money has run out of money and this closing will save the money needed to pay for a balanced budget.

Posted by: bccb | February 23, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

It will not be that bad, if they only shut the fed down for a few days, even a week. I was a fed contractor back in 1995, and I saw essential personnel were working, same as some contractors. The fed can not afford to shutdown completely: national security, infrastructure protection, etc. But it will impact others, with ripple effect to individual, organization and the whole economy. Unless you live in the wood by yourself away from the society, you will be affected somewhat. So stop shouting about shutting down the fed, it may come back at ya.

Posted by: oldguy6 | February 23, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to the government bureaucrats to think the country can't get along without them.

Posted by: granitesentry | February 23, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I am so sick of being the latest political pinata for the Republicans. This is all smoke and mirrors hiding the fact that the budget would not be a deficit if the large corporations were not permitted to take their tax free profits and put it in off shore banks. The biggest corporations in the country pay NO income taxes, but you and we get slimed with being lazy leeches on society for doing our jobs and asking for a living wage. It is estimated that if all the companies who skirt the tax laws paid their taxes we would not have a deficit crisis and your grannie wouldnt have to worry about having to live without heat. Since they are now "people" shopuldn't they have to pay taxes like the rest of us PEOPLE? There is class warfare being waged, and it's us middle class people agains the rich. There are more of us. I don't understand why people support the very corporations who steal our democracy, buy off our elected officials, ship your jobs overseas so they can make another billion off of slave labor. Don't you know you are being lied too, it isn't government workers killing the budget it's the fact that the taxes on these corporations are not collected. And the next arguement would be but they will not hire people if we tax them. Ah where are all the jobs then? When are we going to stop the corporate welfare since we aren't getting jobs here anyway?

Posted by: jacquie1 | February 24, 2011 12:08 AM | Report abuse

WHY do those fools in Congress think they deserved a vacation from their work this week?

Posted by: Kathy8 | February 24, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

No gov't shutdown on March 4th. Dems/Reps agree to 4 billion cuts for two weeks. Haha! Like that will help. Instead, it will be March 18th when we see the real shutdown. That will involve MUCH larger cuts, and since the Dems are crazy (and the Reps with no ethics) they'll shut 'er down. Either way, it doesn't matter now. The U.S. is bankrupt. Many sad folks will equate the problems to cutting spending. As if going deeper into debt will somehow get us out of over 200 trillion of current debt. Either way, we've spent our way into the poorhouse, and we're screwed. Be sure to blame anyone but yourselves. I've always voted for third party candidates like Ralph Nader and Ron Paul. Anything else is participating in your own destruction. Here it comes! Can you hear it? Its coming for you, America.

Posted by: shred11 | February 27, 2011 12:53 AM | Report abuse

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