The White House budget director late Monday ordered federal agencies to begin closing down after Congress failed to pass a budget to avert a government shutdown.
“Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director Of the White House Office of Management and Budget in a memo.
The order was issued 10 minutes before the US government officially ran out of money after a day of angry brinkmanship between the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Senate, where Democrats have the majority.
Burwell urged Congress to pass a temporary operating budget as soon as possible to allow departments to reopen.
“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.”
It is unclear how long a government shutdown will last. The funding gap will leave some essential functions like national security intact but sharply cut many regulatory agencies, furloughing up to a million federal workers.