Perilously close to a midnight deadline, the White House and congressional leaders reached an agreement to cut billions of dollars in spending to avoid the first government shutdown in 15 years.

As intense negotiations continued Friday evening, Georgia congressmen remained optimistic.

“I’m always hopeful and optimistic. We cannot afford to shut down the federal government. It will send the wrong message across America and around the world,” said Georgia Rep. John Lewis.

“The fact of the matter is we need to be listening. We’re the House of Representatives. We represent our constituents. Our constituents have said decrease the spending, stop the madness,” Georgia Rep. Tom Price told Channel 2’s Washington, D.C., bureau reporter Scott MacFarlane.

But the Carter Center on Friday evening closed its doors and posted signs announcing that the center was closed due to a government shutdown. The decision to close the center came hours before congressional leaders announced that a deal had been reached.


WATCH:
Carter Center Closes With Threat Of Government Shutdown



MacFarlane said several senators had predicted a deal by the midnight deadline.

Hundreds of thousands of government workers left work on Friday not sure if they’d be able to return to their jobs on Monday.

Roland McKay, a state department worker who just returned from Iraq, told MacFarlane he was concerned about his job.

“It’s a very real threat that on Monday I can’t come to work to serve the American people,” McKay said on Friday evening.

Budget negotiations continued behind closed doors with funding for Planned Parenthood reportedly one of the sticking points.

MacFarlane learned the a potential shutdown would have included all 394 national parks, one out of every five Homeland Security employees excluding airport security, tax services and some military benefits would have been halted.

In metro Atlanta, concern about the shutdown reached beyond federal employees.

Thaicoon Sushi Bar on Briarcliff Road is often filled with workers from the Centers For Disease Control at lunch hour.

Owner Treva Chhin told Channel 2’s Manuel Bojorquez that about 80 percent of his business comes from federal workers.

The CDC facilities in DeKalb County said it would have kept essential workers on the job, including security and bio-lab employees, if there was a government shutdown.

However, about 100,000 federal workers for agencies across Georgia would have potentially faced furloughs.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal estimated it could take two to four weeks before a government shutdown affected state services.

“The governor has contacted all agencies and departments in the state and asked for memos that will lay out what the state department’s contingency plans are in case of a shutdown,” said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson earlier Friday.

Robinson said some state departments have already drawn down federal money in advance so they’ll have funding if a shutdown happens.

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