In case you slept through it, parts of the federal government shut down at 12:01AM Tuesday morning, as Congress failed to agree on a spending bill.
Sylvia M. Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, ordered executive agencies to shut down just before midnight on Monday.
“We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations,” the memo said.
“This is a very sad day for our country,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor early Tuesday morning. Reid declared the Senate is in recess until 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
So what does this mean? An estimated 800,000 of the 2.1 million federal workers who are deemed nonessential for the operations of the government will be sent home after they have shut down their work. Only employees who are necessary to ensure national security and protect Americans’ lives and property will be allowed to work, without pay, along with a few other types of workers.
Late Monday night, in a last ditch effort to end the back-and-forth between the House and Senate, House Republicans offered to set up a bipartisan conference committee to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate bills. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., rejected that proposal outright, repeating his mantra that the Senate isn’t interested in passing anything but a “clean” spending bill and that they won’t be forced to negotiate “with a gun to our head.” Senate Democrats also pointed out that they had been calling for a bipartisan conference for months, a request that had been brushed off by House Republicans.
Below, more from the AP:
WASHINGTON — For the first time in nearly two decades, the federal government staggered into a partial shutdown Monday at midnight after congressional Republicans stubbornly demanded changes in the nation’s health care law as the price for essential federal funding and President Barack Obama and Democrats adamantly refused.
As Congress gridlocked, Obama said a “shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away,” with hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed and veterans’ centers, national parks, most of the space agency and other government operations shuttered.
He laid the blame at the feet of House Republicans, whom he accused of seeking to tie government funding to ideological demands, “all to save face after making some impossible promises to the extreme right wing of their party.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, responded a short while later on the House floor. “The American people don’t want a shutdown and neither do I,” he said. Yet, he added, the new health care law “is having a devastating impact. … Something has to be done.”
The stock market dropped on fears that political deadlock between the White House and a tea party-heavy Republican Party would prevail, though analysts suggested significant damage to the national economy was unlikely unless a shutdown lasted more than a few days.