“We hope that Congress will prevent a costly shutdown,” Kirby told a press conference on Sept. 24. “The administration’s efforts remain focused on preventing a shutdown and a catastrophic default. In the meantime, OMB is preparing for any contingency, as is consistent with long-standing practice across multiple administrations.”
The White House confirmed that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has begun issuing notices to various federal agencies about the possibility of a shutdown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Sept. 26 that she doesn’t believe there will be a shutdown.
“Nobody wants to see a shutdown,” Kirby said. “And we obviously will take seriously, as we always do, and as I think you’ve seen through previous shutdowns, should there be one, that we have to continue to defend the nation, and we have to make sure that the capabilities, the resources, the people are in place to continue to look after our national security interests.”
The OMB stated that agency officials expect Congress to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until December.
“Consistent with longstanding practice across multiple administrations, OMB is preparing for any contingency, and determinations about specific programs are being actively reviewed by agencies,” Abdullah Hasan, an OMB spokesman, said in a statement last week. “More importantly, there is enough time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations, and we are confident they will do so.”
Government shutdowns take place when Congress fails to pass legislation to finance the government, but they rarely last longer than a month. The previous government shutdown between 2018 and 2019 lasted for 35 days, and before that, in 2013, a government shutdown lasted for 16 days.
More critical is the looming debt crisis, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other Biden administration officials. Yellen has warned Congress that the United States could default in mid-October if Congress doesn’t pass a bill to either raise or suspend the debt limit.
Both chambers of Congress approved a measure suspending the debt limit in July 2019, but Congress didn’t renew the legislation in 2021.
“The U.S. has never defaulted. Not once,” Yellen wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion article, as some analysts have warned that the United States could enter recession territory if the country defaults. “Doing so would likely precipitate a historic financial crisis that would compound the damage of the continuing public health emergency.”