The US government today shut down – the first time since 1995-96 - as the Republican and the Democrats failed to reach an agreement on spending and budget mainly due to their differences over the healthcare reforms, which is popular as Obamacare.
With neither side blinking, despite last minute hectic efforts from both side, the White House immediately ordered the federal government agencies to begin shutting down, furloughing thousands of workers and curtailing some services for the first time in nearly 18 years.
"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," Obama said in a video message to the armed services shortly after the shutdown came into effect.
"The threats to our national security have not changed, and we need you to be ready for any contingency. Ongoing military operations—like our efforts in Afghanistan—will continue. If you're serving in harm's way, we're going to make sure you have what you need to succeed in your missions," he said.
"Congress has passed, and I am signing into law, legislation to make sure you get your paychecks on time. And we'll continue working to address any impact this shutdown has on you and your families," Obama said.
Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations, the Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell said her a guidance to the agencies directing them to execute their plans for an orderly shutdown of the Federal government.
"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 guidance said.
Shutdown, the first in 18 years, means that national parks will close, most routine food inspections will be suspended, paperwork will slow at government offices and many federal employees will be furloughed.
Only emergency and essential items would be able to operate, as a result of which lakhs of government employees would not receive their salary for the duration of the government shutdown.
Senator Ben Cardin alleged that the Republicans have manufactured a crisis that will cost taxpayers even more money while inconveniencing, if not harming, individuals, families and businesses across the country.
Earlier, Obama said as a result of the government shut down, office buildings would be closed.
"Paychecks would be delayed. Vital services that seniors and veterans, women and children, businesses and our economy depend on would be hamstrung," he said.
"Business owners would see delays in raising capital, seeking infrastructure permits, or rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Veterans who've sacrificed for their country will find their support centers unstaffed," he said.
"Tourists will find every one of America's national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed. And of course, the communities and small businesses that rely on these national treasures for their livelihoods will be out of customers and out of luck," he added.
Noting that more than two million civilian workers and 1.4 million active-duty military serve in all 50 states and all around the world, Obama said because of government shutdown, hundreds of thousands of these dedicated public servants who stay on the job will do so without pay - and several hundred thousand more will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed without pay.
"A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away. Past shutdowns have disrupted the economy significantly. This one would, too. It would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction," he said.
"We do not have a clear indication that Congress will act in time for the President to sign a continuing resolution before the end of the day tomorrow, Oct 1, 2013. Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations," said Sylvia Burwell, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, in a statement.
"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," she added.
Read President Obama's full statement here
Here are US President Barack Obama's tweets about this:
They actually did it. A group of Republicans in the House just forced a government shutdown over Obamacare instead of passing a real budget.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 1, 2013
"The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. You can't shut it down." —President Obama #Obamacare— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 1, 2013
* For most Republicans in the House of Representatives, the only greater peril than shutting down the federal government would have been fighting to keep it open. Read full story
* Despite US government shutdown drama, Obamacare launch poised to reach millions. The landmark healthcare law opens new insurance marketplaces in 50 states despite the government shutdown. Read full story
According to a government official, the shutdown would be unlikely to affect core NSA operations. Read full story
* US President Barack Obama has suggested a CEO's forum meets to discuss concerns relating to business between the two countries, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday, noting that the concerns had largely arisen due to the slowdown of the Indian economy. Read full story
* More than 70 % of the civilians working for US spy agencies have been deemed "non-essential" employees and face temporary layoffs due to the government shutdown that began on Tuesday, three officials familiar with the matter said. Read full story
As news of US shutdown makes its way across the world, courtesy social media, people share their shock and awe reactions to what actually isn't that rare an event (This is the 18th US shutdown in last 40 years!)
Americans, of course, are the worst effected and most annoyed at the move. Various polls reveal that over 50% Americans do not favour a shutdown. According to the CNN/ORc poll, 68% Americans said shutting down the government for even a few days is a bad idea. They also blamed Republicans for a shutdown, where 69% agreed that they were acting like “spoiled children”.
Here's how the online world reacted to the US federal government shutdown:
#USShutdown -- Load-shedding of US government— Mansoor Ali Khan (@MansoorGeoNews) October 1, 2013
Meanwhile in Russia, Edward Snowden hears of US government #shutdown & books flight back, thinking it's safe.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 1, 2013
Mamata asks royalty from US for shutdown .Claims intellectual property rights belongs to Bengal @bibekdebroy— Subir H Chaudhuri (@psychiatrycal) October 1, 2013
If the government shuts down, NASA and the CDC will too, leaving us vulnerable to epidemics, alien invasion. http://t.co/8eXRA8eyG8— Christopher Mims (@mims) October 1, 2013
And then there were those who just didn't get it: