White House officials are raising their expectations that the government will partially shut down on Friday as lawmakers scramble to find votes for a short-term spending deal that will fund the government past midnight, budget director Mick Mulvaney said.
"We were operating under a sort of 30 percent [likelihood of a] shutdown up until yesterday, I think it's ratcheted up now," Mulvaney told reporters at the White House on Friday. "We've had our meeting just about a half an hour ago, a teleconference with a bunch of agencies to tell them to start to implement their lapse plan, the next step in preparing for a lapse in funding, that's what we call a shutdown, the formal name of it. I guess the bottom line is we're working to make sure there is no shutdown but if the Senate or the House can't get together to finalize a deal we'll be ready."
Mulvaney said the White House now sees the chances of the government shutting down as "50-50."
The House passed a continuing resolution that would fund the government through Feb. 16 on Thursday evening, but the bill's future in the Senate appears uncertain.
Senate Democrats have threatened to withhold their votes on any funding mechanism unless that legislation includes protections for younger immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The White House and Republicans have pushed to negotiate the immigration issue separately, as Congress has until March to extend protections for these immigrants who were covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.