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Wednesday
Sep232015

The Federal Government Could Shutter Again Next Week

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — While Pope Francis’ historic visit to Washington is still underway, the administration is already bracing for another milestone — the deadline to fund the government.

The White House has started its formal preparations for a potential government shutdown, as only seven days remain before governing funding runs out.

A conference call with senior agency officials was held Monday to “remind agencies of their responsibilities to review and update orderly shutdown plans."

The Office of Management and Budget has started consulting with agencies on their contingency plans should Congress not pass a spending bill by the end of the month, according to a spokesperson.

With the shutdown deadline looming, leadership has no time to waste — and must also contend with conservatives’ calls to defund Planned Parenthood.

House Republicans have pledged to oppose any measure that doesn’t defund the organization and are likely to force a vote on House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership if they don’t have their way.

But Senate Democrats will block any measure that targets the organization — teeing up a shutdown unless Republican leaders marshal “clean” spending bills through both chambers.

“There's no time for another unnecessary shutdown crisis. We're going to move to a clean C.R. [continuing resolution] on Thursday,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Tuesday.

Before the Senate can move to that clean C.R., however, it will first vote Thursday on a short-term measure that would fund the government into December but defund Planned Parenthood.

But the way forward in the House is less certain.

After he hosts Pope Francis, Boehner, R-Ohio, will meet with House Republican leadership to plot budget strategy, according to a senior leadership aide.

It’s not yet clear whether the House will move its own bill or wait for the Senate to vote.

“House Republican leaders continue to talk with members about the path forward on a continuing resolution and legislation that would stop abortion providers from their horrific practices against babies,” Boehner spokesperson Emily Schillinger said in a statement.

Republican leaders maintain that they will avoid a repeat of 2013, when the government shutdown for sixteen days. According to Standard & Poor’s, that shutdown cost the U.S. economy $24 billion.

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