Deal reached to avert shutdown with only hours to spare

Editor's note: This story was updated after its original publication to include late-breaking developments.

Congressional leaders reached a deal late Dec. 15 to avoid a government shutdown pending a final vote Friday. House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on a budget that would fund most agencies for the remainder of fiscal 2012, according to the Washington Post.

Thanks to a "minibus" budget passed in November, the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, State, Transportation, NASA and other smaller agencies already have funding until the end of fiscal 2012. The deal reached Dec. 15 covers the Defense Department and most of the rest of government, the Post reported.

As hours ticked by this week, the Obama administration began alerting employees to the possibility of a partial government shutdown. The bipartisan divide epitomized 2011, when Democrats and Republicans’ bickering resulted in the passing of a series of short-term spending measures instead of a single one that would fund the government for the entire fiscal year. A standoff on the payroll tax bill to extend a tax cut for wage earners held up debate on the funding bill. 

Some agencies had begun preparing employees for the possibilities of a shutdown. The Office of Personnel Management website informed federal employees about shutdown furloughs and what impact they would have on the workforce. The Interior Department had also notified government employees about what consequences a shutdown would have should a shutdown occur.

It was the fifth time this year that Congress had pushed the nation to within hours of a government shutdown.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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Reader comments

Thu, Dec 22, 2011

Why isn't the Government passing the budget or trying to one year in advance so there is never any threat to a govt. shut down again? Politics is killing us.

Mon, Dec 19, 2011

OBX - 1 November? It should be 1 October, if not earlier since the fiscal year starts 1 October. It is unconscionable how much time and money has been wasted in the past few Administrations because Congress can't get pass budget bills. I love this country and think we have the best form of government but think something has got to be done to stop this nonsense. I wish I could figure out what.

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 had enough!

I would liek to see the dollar amount spent by each agency on all of the shut down prepardness and then that amount of money removed from the pay of Congress. If Congress can't pass a budget by 11/1 of each year they and their staff don't get paid until it is passed and they don't get back pay after the bill is passed they go without.

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 Jake Warren Silver Spring, MD

Oh really?!! Then why are the agencies still planning for the shutdown now on Friday afternoon? And why aren't all the comments to this article being posted? Smacks of a conspiracy to me to make OMB look like they know what they are doing. Instead, they are still telling agencies to plan for a shutdown. Something isn't right.

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 David Washington, DC

Not only had SOME agencies spent days planning for a potential shutdown, all of them have wasted taxpayer dollars for TWO DAYS and are continuing at noon Friday Dec 16 to plan for a POTENTIAL shutdown at the direction of OMB. I know this because I am at an agency that is still doing the right now. This is idiocy. Thank your Congressman for millions of dollars of waste simply because they could not do something they were supposed to complete months ago, and cannot even pass an extension with a reasonable amount of notification. What an embarrassment and a waste of money at a time when we should be trying to save.

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