White House asks Congress to pass short-term funding bill to keep government operating

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said Thursday that Congress should pass a short-term funding measure to ensure the government keeps operating after the current budget year ends Sept. 30.

An official with the Office of Management and Budget said lawmakers would very likely need to pass a temporary spending measure in September to prevent a potential partial shutdown. The official was not authorized to discuss the administration's plans and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Without such congressional approval, parts of the federal government could shut down when the new budget year begins Oct. 1. That would jeopardize federal programs on which millions of U.S. households and businesses rely. The shutdown is a risk because of disagreements on the annual spending bills to be passed by the Republican-led House and and Democratic-majority Senate. Neither side wants a shutdown despite their differences.

House Republicans are insisting on sharp cuts to many programs, reopening a tense debate about government finances from earlier this year when the White House and Congress reached a compromise in June to extend the government's legal borrowing authority through January 2025.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre outlined the administration's two-front push on government funding at Thursday's briefing. On August 10, the administration sent Congress a request for supplemental funding that would include money for disaster relief, aid to Ukraine and programs to address fentanyl addiction. The supplemental is separate from Thursday's request for a short-term funding plan to keep the government open.

As part of the request for short-term funding, the White House Office of Management and Budget is seeking additional adjustments to avoid possible disruptions to food aid for women, infants and children. Without the adjustments, states could put recipients on wait lists and cause them to go hungry, Jean-Pierre said.

“This is something that Congress can do — they can prevent a government shutdown,” Jean-Pierre said. “They need to prevent a government shutdown.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Fox News on Sunday that he “would actually like” to have a short-term funding measure because a shutdown “hurts the American public.” He suggested an extension would allow the House to pass its own spending plans and improve its leverage in talks with the Senate.

The Washington Post first reported on Thursday that the White House said Congress should pass a short-term funding measure.