Vilsack Calls Government Shutdown Talk Premature

Ag secretary remains confident resolution will be reached

Published on: Feb 28, 2011

While the U.S. House has approved a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, the Senate doesn't reconvene to work on the budget until Monday, and the current continuing resolution expires this Friday, March 4.

Even so, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says it's premature to talk about a government shutdown.

"The Congressional leaders I've heard speak on this have indicated a desire to get to some kind of budget resolution," Vilsack said. "But we stand ready to do what we need to do to make sure that services are not negatively impacted in key and important areas. At the same time I think that we remain confident in our Congressional leaders and the President's ability to try to get this thing worked out short of a shutdown."

It's been more than 15 years since the government has shut down due to a budget deadlock in 1995. House Republican leaders now have a two-week budget extension plan to March 18 that includes $4 billion in spending reductions. Senate Democrats are reportedly more interested in a one-month plan that would keep spending at current levels.