(NBC NEWS) -- Federal government officials told agencies to begin executing plans
for a partial government shutdown Monday as Congress failed to reach an
agreement on a funding measure.
In a memo to executive branch
officers sent less than half an hour before a midnight deadline, Office
of Management and Budget director Sylvia Burwell said there was no
"clear indication" that Congress would reach an agreement to keep the
government's lights on by 12:01 a.m. ET
"Agencies should now
execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of
appropriations," she wrote. "We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a
Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures
sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year,
and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs
that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations."
The shutdown is expected to place
tens of thousands of federal workers on furlough, close national parks
and monuments, and disrupt services like food assistance and IRS audits.
Services like benefit payments and national security operations would
go on as usual, and – because of a bipartisan measure passed by both
houses of Congress and signed into law by the president late Monday –
members of the military will continue to be paid.
As the clock
ticked down to midnight, the House announced that it would try to shift
decision-making to a bipartisan "conference" of lawmakers from both
chambers, but Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid immediately
rejected that plan.
"We will not go to conference with a gun to our head," he said.
to the time needed for parliamentary procedure, it was clear that the
House and Senate would not reach any agreement in time to avert the
Less than an hour before the funding deadline, House
Republicans were set to formally request a bicameral committee late
Monday evening to hash out some middle ground between the Democratic
Senate's "clean" government funding bill and the GOP-led House's
proposal to delay a key part of Obamacare and nix health care subsidies
for congressional staffers.
"It means we're the reasonable,
responsible actors trying to keep the process alive as the clock ticks
past midnight, despite Washington Democrats' refusal - thus far - to
negotiate," the GOP aide said.
After the plan was reported, Reid
said the Senate wouldn't "go to conference until we get a clean CR," and
accused Republicans of "playing games" at the eleventh hour.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told reporters the conference plan was simply "a recipe for shutting down the government."
this comes after the Senate -- for the second time Monday -- rejected a
House-passed measure that would have delayed a key provision of
Obamacare while funding the government for an additional few weeks.
just hours to go before the midnight deadline, the Senate swiftly nixed
a House-passed government funding proposal late Monday, tossing the
legislation back to the lower chamber with unusual speed as the nation
careened towards a federal shutdown.
Shortly after receiving the
House proposal to fund the government and delay a key provision of the
president's health care law, the Senate voted along party lines to send
the bill back to the House for a last-ditch effort at meeting a midnight
deadline to keep the government's lights on.
Reid said on the
Senate floor before the vote that Republicans "have lost their minds" by
repeatedly voting for "ridiculous policy riders" destined for failure
in the Democratically-controlled Senate.
The House measure --
which would fund the government through mid-December but also delay
Obamacare's individual mandate by one year -- passed 228-201, with 12
Republicans bucking their leaders to vote against the plan and nine
Democrats voting for it.
Speaking on the House floor shortly before the final vote, House
Speaker John Boehner said the vote to delay the mandate was about
"I would say to the president: This is not about me," Boehner said.
"This is not about Republicans here in Congress. It's about fairness for
the American people."
Republicans were not united on a key procedural measure shortly
before the final vote on the House plan, prompting some speculation that
it would fail and Boehner would be forced back into negotiations.
Ultimately only a handful of Republicans broke with Boehner to oppose
A bloc of moderate Republicans began speaking out against the measure
Monday afternoon, noting that the House's repeated attempts to tie
Obamacare changes to the government funding measure had failed in the
"We've already launched two volleys unsuccessfully and now it's time
to go on with the business of governing the country.," Rep. Charlie
Dent, R-Pa., told reporters. "The hourglass is already empty and it's
time that we pass a clean CR."
And outside conservative groups were split on the newest version of
the funding bill. Heritage Action argued that the move to delay the
individual mandate does not go far enough, although the group says it
will not hold votes of support against Republican members. The anti-tax
group Club for Growth urged its members to vote for the new House
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