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GOP Prepares Its Counterpunch

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his entire leadership team were summoned to the White House on Wednesday afternoon for a meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the situation.

The White House stepped up its efforts to pressure Republicans to agree to an "acceptable" spending bill. In a largely theatrical move, federal agencies Wednesday began the process of preparing for a shutdown, sending email "alerts" to employees to warn them of a potential shutdown.

And in a statement, Office of Management and Budget spokesman Kenneth Baer said Wednesday, "there is no reason for the government to shut down. Congress can avoid a shutdown by passing an acceptable omnibus spending bill as well as an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits or by passing another short-term CR as Congress has done seven times already this year."

Baer also sought to legitimize the shutdown "preparations" under way within the administration, saying, "We do need to be prepared for any contingency, and in case Congress does not act, we are taking the steps necessary to be prepared if a lapse in funding should occur. That is why agencies are sending emails to their employees to alert them to this possibility and how it would affect them."

David M. Drucker and Jessica Brady contributed to this report.

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