US Govt shuts down first time in 17 years as budget talks fail

US Govt shuts down first time in 17 years as budget talks fail

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The US federal government is partially shutting down after the Congress failed to fund its work amid a Republican drive to defund the Obamacare healthcare program. President Obama addressed to US troops to boost their confidence amid the crisis.The Congress left the government without funding as competing spending measures bounced back and forth between the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Democratic-led Senate late into Monday night.The partial shutdown will leave some essential government functions, including national security, intact. It’s not clear how long the situation will continue, with lawmakers expected to take a further vote in a matter of hours.
If the shutdown persists, it will affect an estimated 800,000 of public workers, who will be forced into unpaid leave as the government would be unable to fund their employment. National parks and most federal offices are closed, as is almost all of NASA, except for Mission Control in Houston.
The shutdown also affects the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo, going as far as shutting off the zoo’s popular ‘panda cam’. The website of the US Department of Agriculture went blank on Tuesday, leaving only a warning that it’s not available due to the lapse in federal government funding.
The crisis would initially cost the US economy at least $300 million a day in lost economic output, says Bloomberg citing IHS Inc., a Massachusetts-based economic forecast company.
President Barack Obama assumed his role as commander-in-chief to address US troops around the world. He said the Congress had failed American soldiers in causing the government shutdown. He pledged that the White House will do everything possible to keep those troops currently on active duty to receive all they need in order to perform that duty.
The budgetary breakdown raised fresh concerns about whether lawmakers can meet a crucial mid-October deadline to raise the government’s $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.
The partial shutdown on Tuesday is the first for the US government in 17 years. It comes after Congress missed the Monday midnight deadline for passing a federal budget.
Republicans were demanding a one-year delay in making millions of people buy health insurance under the Obama administration’s 2010 healthcare law as a condition for keeping the government funded. The Senate twice rejected the proposed provisions, while Obama said he would veto the House-backed legislation.
The Congress deadlock has driven the legislature’s approval rating down to a record low 10 percent, according to a new CNN/ORC International Poll. President Obama’s approval is down to 44 percent.
As the shutdown loomed Monday, visitors to popular parks made their frustration with elected officials clear.
“There is no good thing going to come out of it,” Chris Fahl, a tourist, told AP as he was touring the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park in Kentucky. “Taxpayers are just going to be more overburdened.”
“They should be willing to compromise, both sides, and it discourages me that they don’t seem to be able to do that,” said Emily Enfinger, a visitor to the Statue of Liberty. “They’re not doing their job as far as I’m concerned.”
The crisis appears to be strangely captivating for some foreigners.
“We can’t imagine not having a national health system,” said Marlena Knight, an Australian native visiting Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. “I just can’t believe that this country can shut down over something like a national health system. Totally bizarre, as an Australian, but fascinating.” – Eurasia Review
Latest moves: AP adds: The House of Representatives is expected to vote late Monday night on a motion to go to conference with the Senate on the government-funding bill, a move that Democrats immediately rejected as a cynical political ploy.
Republicans decided not vote on the so-called “clean” CR as demanded by House and Senate Democrats, and the government partially shut down at midnight on Tuesday.
The House Rules Committee met at 10:30 p.m. to decide on a rule that will allow Majority Leader Eric Cantor to request a conference with the Senate. The House later voted to go to conference with the Senate by a 228-199 vote.
House Republicans think this move will put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democrats. And it will force them to the negotiating table.
“ It’s regular order,” a GOP leadership aide told Business Insider to the House’s rationale. “It means we’re the reasonable, responsible actors trying to keep the process alive as the clock ticks past  midnight , despite Washington Democrats’ refusal — thus far — to negotiate.”
The aide said that the House GOP will likely not include in the motion a stopgap bill to fund the government for a short, one- or two-week period. Instead, they will again look to pass their latest offer — one that has in it two amendments that chip away at Obamacare, and that the Senate rejected Monday evening.
The House’s final pre-shutdown move came after Republicans have rejected the idea of going to conference on the budget for months. Citing that fact — Republicans have opposed 18 opportunities to go to conference on the federal budget — Reid slammed House Republicans’ latest “gambit” on the Senate floor.
He called on the House to pass a clean, six-week CR before the two chambers go to conference.
“We will not go to conference with a gun to our head,” Reid said. “… I  want everyone to hear what I just said. We will not go to conference without a clean CR.”
The Senate will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, when it will move to table the House GOP’s latest plan.
“And,” a Senate Democratic aide said, “we will be back at square one.”
In case you’re keeping score, here’s the ping-pong that the Senate and House have played since Friday:
•    Sept. 20: The House passed a continuing resolution that funds the government through Dec. 15 — but strips funding for Obamacare.
•    Friday: The Senate passed a so-called “clean” continuing resolution that would have kept the government funded through Nov. 15. It stripped out the language defunding Obamacare.
•    Saturday: The House decided against passing the Senate’s CR, instead attaching to it two “poison pill” amendments that fundamentally altered the Affordable Care Act. The first two House amendments delayed Obamacare by one year and repealed a tax on medical devices.
•    Monday afternoon: The Senate immediately tabled the two amendments, sending the CR back to the House.
•    Monday night: The House decided again to not pass a “clean” CR, adding two more Obamacare-related amendments. These amendments delayed just the individual mandate by one year, and added language that would bar lawmakers, Congressional staffers, and administration staffers from receiving federal subsidies for health insurance under Obamacare.
•    Less than an hour later, the Senate again rejected the House’s amendments, putting the ball back in the House’s court.

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