April 5, 2011 / 1:32 PM / in 8 years

White House directs agencies to prepare for shutdown

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota in this October 23, 2010 file photograph.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has directed government agencies to prepare for a government shutdown if Republicans and Democrats fail to agree on a budget bill before cash runs out, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama is meeting with congressional leaders at the White House to try to break a stalemate over how to cut $33 billion in this year’s budget before a Friday deadline when government funding runs out.

With an agreement still far from reached, the White House Office of Management and Budget said agencies were preparing to close their doors even as leaders from both parties worked to keep that from being necessary.

“We are aware of the calendar, and to be prudent and prepare for the chance that Congress may not pass a funding bill in time, on Monday OMB encouraged agency heads to begin sharing their contingency plans with senior managers throughout their organization to ensure that they have their feedback and input,” OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer said.

“As the week progresses, we will continue to take necessary steps to prepare for the possibility that Congress is unable to come to agreement and a lapse in government funding ensues.”

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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