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NJ government on verge of a shutdown

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is preparing for a state government shutdown.

The Republican governor sent a letter on Thursday to his Cabinet members instructing them to get ready in case a budget is not enacted by the midnight deadline on Friday.

The state Legislature failed to vote on a budget on Thursday.

The votes were delayed after Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto halted a vote on the budget when his fellow Democrats failed to vote in favor of the bill.

Prieto attributed the failure to some lawmakers’ support for legislation overhauling the state’s largest health insurer, which Christie has made a condition of signing the budget. Christie also said that he won’t sign a state budget unless it has a plan to dedicate lottery revenue to the state’s underfunded public workers’ pensions.

The state Senate approved legislation to overhaul Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield as part of an agreement with Christie. Prieto says he opposes the bill and will not post it for a vote.

The New Jersey Assembly and Senate have gone into recess without passing a fiscal year 2018 budget. Prieto’s and Senate President Steve Sweeney’s offices said that the chamber will be in recess until Friday.

Lawmakers and Republican Gov. Chris Christie have until Friday night to enact a budget or face a government shutdown.

The state constitution requires a budget be enacted by July 1.