(The Hill) – Former President Jimmy Carter’s upcoming 99th birthday celebration has been moved up a day amid the looming possibility of a government shutdown.
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum said some events for Carter’s birthday will happen on Saturday instead of Sunday, when current funding levels are set to run out.
“The interest in President Carter’s birthday is so great, we decided to make it a birthday weekend, both Saturday and Sunday with 99 cent admission, and all sort of birthday activities,” the library and museum said in a statement to The Hill.
Tony Clark, the museum’s director of public affairs, told CNN that some of the museum’s spaces that are part of the government will be closed if a shutdown does occur, saying “we are starting early to make sure we have a celebration.”
“Some libraries have a non-governmental foundation that operates their museum rather than NARA. Those are able to stay open. The Carter Library works closely with The Carter Center and share some spaces, but the museum is not one of those,” Clark said.
“So while we anticipate congressional funding to resume October 1, if it doesn’t, the government side of the Presidential Center will be closed.”
Carter, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, entered hospice care in February. He is the oldest former president in American history.
Earlier this month, grandson Jason Carter, the chairman of The Carter Center, said the former president and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who has been diagnosed with dementia, are “coming to the end.”
“They are together. They are at home. They are in love, and I don’t think anyone gets more than that,” Jason Carter said. “I mean, it’s a perfect situation for this time in their lives.”
Ahead of Jimmy Carter’s 99th birthday, the Carter Center is asking the public to help celebrate the former president with a video or photo message that will create a mosaic.
“Our mosaic project is a symbolic way to show how we all play a part in President Carter’s remarkable legacy of service to humanity,” according to The Carter Center website.
Congress has until this weekend to avert a government shutdown, and divisions among House Republicans have left it without a clear path forward.
A government shutdown would lead to the suspension of nonessential federal functions and result in millions of federal employees not receiving pay.