Government Shuts Down in Budget Impasse

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from The New York Times,

800,000 Face Furloughs; a Million More Are to Work Without Pay.

The vast machinery of the federal government began grinding to a halt Tuesday morning just hours after weary lawmakers gave up hope of passing a budget in the face of Republican attacks on President Obama’s health care law.

For the first time in 17 years, Congress failed Monday night to agree on a new budget and refused to extend the current one. Without the authority to spend money, the executive branch on Tuesday morning started the process of temporarily mothballing facilities and suspending the many services the government provides.

After a series of back-and-forth legislative maneuvers late Monday night and into Tuesday morning, the House and Senate did not reach a resolution, and the Senate halted business until later Tuesday while the House took steps to open talks. But Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, was dismissive of the House proposal to begin conference committee negotiations, and the next legislative steps remained uncertain.

More than 800,000 federal workers across the country are bracing for an uncertain financial future in the days ahead as many government agencies prepared to close their doors, set up barricades and turn out the lights.

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Government Shuts Down in Budget Impasse