US State Department doing contingency planning in case of government shutdown

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the U.S. Capitol in Washington
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has for a number of days conducted contingency planning in case of a government shutdown, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Thursday.

Miller told reporters that planning will continue in coming days to decide what jobs are essential to national security and cannot be suspended in a shutdown and what jobs would have to be suspended.

"We remain hopeful that Congress will do its job and fund the government, but we are making contingency planning in case they don't," Miller said.

House of Representatives Republicans, led by a small faction of hardline conservatives, have rejected spending levels for fiscal year 2024 set in a deal that Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated with President Joe Biden in May. Republicans control the House by a 221-212 margin.

The agreement included $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2024. House Republicans are demanding another $120 billion in cuts, plus tougher legislation that would stop the flow of immigrants at the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

U.S. embassies and consulates would remain open. Passport and visa processing would continue as long as there were sufficient fees to cover operations. Nonessential official travel, speeches and other events would be curtailed, according to a shutdown plan published in August.

Some foreign aid programs could run out of money as well.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Costas Pitas and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)