White House preparing for government shutdown: Official

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2018 (Xinhua) -- White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks during a briefing on a possible government shutdown at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Jan. 19, 2018. White House is preparing for a government shutdown, as the chances of a short-term government funding bill passed by the Senate are dimmed, said Mulvaney on Friday. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu/IANS)

Washington,   White House is preparing for a government shutdown, as the chances of a short-term government funding bill passed by the Senate are dimmed, a White House official has said.

“OMB is preparing for what we’re calling the Schumer Shutdown,” said White House Office of Management and Budget Director (OMB) Mick Mulvaney at a press briefing on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The White House is blaming Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer standing in the way for the Senate to pass the stopgap spending bill which has already been approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday night on largely party lines.

Before the briefing, Mulvaney told a group of White House reporters that the White House had told a bunch of administrative agencies to implement lapse plan, which means that they should prepare for a government shutdown.

Mulvaney reiterated at the press briefing that the White House does not want a shutdown.

The federal government is running on its third temporary spending bill since fiscal year 2018 which began on October 1, last year. The current funding measure expires at Friday midnight.

The White House on Friday confirmed that President Donald Trump cancelled his trip to Florida and met Senator Schumer in order to secure a deal to avoid government shutdown.

Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said on Friday that she hopes that Schumer will be able to find out an immigration bill that Trump will support.

After the meeting, Schumer told reporters that they made some progress but still have “a good number of disagreements”.

Democrat lawmakers are demanding a spending deal should include protections for young immigrants known as “Dreamers” brought to US as children. However, Republicans who control both chambers of the Congress want to discuss an immigration bill separately.

The last government shutdown occurred in 2013 when Republican lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to defund the Affordable Care Act.