Congress has missed the deadline for averting the first partial government shutdown in 17 years.
As the clock struck midnight Monday, House Republicans were demanding that the Senate negotiate their demand for a one-year delay in making millions of people buy health insurance under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law. Minutes before midnight, the White House ordered a shutdown.
The Democratic Senate on Monday twice rejected GOP demands to delay key portions of what has become to known as Obamacare as a condition for keeping the government open.
An estimated 800,000 federal workers faced furloughs though many were told work a half day Tuesday. Critical functions like air traffic control and military operations will continue. Social Security benefits will be paid.
The shutdown, the first since the winter of 1995-96, closed national parks, museums along the Washington Mall and the U.S. Capitol visitors center. Agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency will be all but shuttered.
People classified as essential government employees - such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors - will continue to work.
The military will be paid under legislation freshly signed by Obama but paychecks for other federal workers will be withheld until the impasse is broken.
Obama addresses military
President Barack Obama is telling members of the military he'll work to get Congress to re-open the government as soon as possible.
Obama is addressing troops in a video message after Congress missed a midnight deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.
Obama says troops in uniform will remain on duty as usual. He says he's signed a law ensuring troops get paid on time. He says ongoing operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere will continue and the U.S. will ensure those in harm's way have what they need.
But Obama says Defense Department civilians may be furloughed. He says that compounds the damage from spending cuts that have already affected the military.
Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) issued the following statement after the shutdown began:
"Everyone knows Washington is broken, but too few people are talking about what that means for real people. The economy suffers, people looking for work suffer, and countless families, business owners, and farmers simply seeking responsible behavior from the people they elected suffer. This is unacceptable, and we must do better."
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