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White House, govt agencies to talk in case of shutdown


REUTERS
WASHINGTON
THE WHITE HOUSE budget office was slated to hold a call with US government agencies on Friday to plan for a government shutdown in case the US Congress fails to pass a short-term funding bill by a deadline next week.
"It is our hope that this work will ultimately be unnecessary and that there will be no lapse in appropriations," a spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said in a statement.
The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 and Congress must pass a spending measure by then to keep the government open.
In recent years, lawmakers have seldom agreed on a full federal budget and instead have relied on stop-gap measures.
On Thursday, Republicans produced a bill which Democrats immediately rejected.
The OMB said there was enough time for Congress to pass a short-term funding bill, but"prudent management requires that the government plan for the possibility of a lapse."
Republicans and Democrats annually fight about spending bills but normally reach a deal to avert a shutdown, particularly during election years. In 2013, the two sides failed to agree, and the government stopped operations for 16 days.

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