There’s not a lot of wiggle room, but Monday’s midnight deadline for a government shutdown may not be as firm as it seems.
While the government’s authority to incur new monetary obligations for discretionary spending technically ends at midnight, the Obama administration has in the past deemed that as long as there is a reasonable likelihood of a solution, it can keep basic operations open for at least a few hours.
In 2011, when the newly ascendant House Republicans and Mr. Obama were engaged in similar spending battles, one of the fights lasted past the April 8 midnight deadline. Indeed, the House didn’t even pass its bill until 40 minutes after the deadline and sent it over to Mr. Obama, who signed it later in the morning.
But operations didn’t cease.
Part of that was the calendar: April 9, 2011, fell on a Saturday, which meant there weren’t a lot of nonessential federal employees at work that early morning who would have had to be sent home.
The White House Office of Management and Budget didn’t immediately return a message Monday morning asking how much leeway there would be this time.