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Few Minutes Over: Why Missed Deadline Did Not Shutter Government Few Minutes Over: Why Missed Deadline Did Not Shutter Government

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Few Minutes Over: Why Missed Deadline Did Not Shutter Government


President Obama read a statement on the budget agreement to keep the U.S. government.(Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images)

The deadline was Friday midnight—or a government shutdown, right?

Well, it turns out it was 12:28 a.m. when a temporary measure to keep government running for another week actually received final passage by the House. And after that, President Obama waited until Saturday afternoon to sign it.


In fact, that bill to give lawmakers more time to work on final legislative language on their handshake agreement regarding a longer-term spending bill for the remainder of this fiscal year didn't even arrive on the House floor for passage until 12:05 a.m.—five minutes after the stroke of midnight.

Shutdown Averted

Obama: 'Open for Business

PICTURES: Cast of Characters

ANALYSIS: War Just Beginning

So, was the federal government in shutdown, at least technically, for a spell on Saturday morning? Seems the answer is no, according to a directive issued just before midnight Friday to executive departments and agencies by Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew.


"While the current continuing resolution [CR] expires at midnight tonight, Congress has indicated that it has reached agreement on a funding bill for the rest of the fiscal year," stated the memo.

It went on: "Earlier this evening, the Senate passed a short-term CR that will extend current funding levels until the full-year bill can be passed and enacted next week. We expect the House to take up the CR shortly and for the president to sign this CR no later than tomorrow.

"As a result, at this time agencies are instructed to continue their normal operations," Lew's memo instructed.

So, even though the deadline may have been missed by a hair, the government continued its normal operations, whatever those are.

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