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The U.S. government began the first shutdown in 17 years after the House and Senate failed to reach any agreement to keep the money flowing in Washington. The immediate result includes 800,000 federal employees being furloughed and other being asked to work without pay. As of Tuesday morning, both houses of Congress have still failed to reach an agreement.
After both houses went back-and-forth, coming up with alternative plans that neither would accept, House Republicans came up with an idea to set a conference committee between the House and Senate, notes The Washington Post. However, Senate Democrats rejected that idea and majority leader Harry Reid has decided to hold off on having any Senate meetings until later Tuesday.
“We will not go to conference with a gun to our heads,” Reid said, reports The New York Times.
Of course, the main sticking point is President Obama’s health care law. House Republicans have been trying to delay the start of the law by a year, which they tied to funding the government. Less than an hour after approving the last measure to do so, the Senate turned down the measure, which ultimately lead to the shut down.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said that he did speak with President Obama for 10 minutes after the shutdown began. “I’m not going to negotiate. I’m not going to negotiate,” Boehner said the president told him.
According to Politico, Obama did speak with the troops on Armed Forces Television, telling them, “Every time, you’ve met your responsibilities and performed with extraordinary professionalism, skill and courage.” He added, “Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility. It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again.”
Politico also reported that Obama, the House and Senate did agree on a bill to make sure that the military continued to be paid, even if the government was shuttered.
image: Wikimedia Commons