WASHINGTON--As the Obama administration prudently prepares for an "orderly shutdown," as budget talks remain stalemated, a memo prepared by the Office of Management and Budget states that government websites may not be maintained during a closure--IRS excepted.
The Obama White House, faced with the increasing possibility of a federal government shutdown at midnight on Friday on Thursday issued a 16-page memo with instructions to agencies and employees on how to proceed if the shutdown becomes real.
From the memo, page 14: "The mere benefit of continued access by the public to information about the agency's activities would not warrant the retention of personnel or the obligation of funds to maintain (or update) the agency's website during such a lapse."
An exception--the IRS. For those preparing IRS returns and want to file electronically comes this guidance from the OMB "maintenance of the IRS website may be necessary to allow for tax filings and tax collection, which are activities that continue during an appropriations lapse), then the website should remain operational even if its costs are funded through appropriations that have lapsed."
A negotiation session on Thursday afternoon at the White House with President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) failed to yield a deal; the parties return to the Oval Office this evening.