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.
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.