Federal Government Shutting Down, What Happens Next? (+video)

Photo Credit: Reuters

Photo Credit: Reuters

By Tribune staff and wire reports.

The U.S. government began a partial shutdown Tuesday for the first time in 17 years, potentially putting up to 1 million workers on unpaid leave, closing national parks and stalling medical research projects.

Federal agencies were directed to cut back services after lawmakers could not break a political stalemate that sparked new questions about the ability of a deeply divided Congress to perform its most basic functions.

“Unfortunately, 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, October 1, 2013. Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations,” wrote OMB director Sylvia M. Burwell in a memorandum circulated at 11:45 Eastern time.

The federal government was shut down twice in 1995-96, when Bill Clinton was president and Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the House, but has not closed since then.

Burwell, as President Barack Obama did repeatedly Monday, urged Congress to pass short-term legislation that would extend the funding for the remainder of the fiscal year and “restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.”

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A government shutdown: What could it look like?

By Simon Moya-Smith and Andrew Rafferty.

Government agencies were directed to “execute plans for an orderly shutdown” late Monday as Congress failed to pass a funding bill that would prevent the disruption of some government services.

The Office of Management and Budget, tasked with administering the shutdown, urged Congress “to restore the operation of critical public services and programs” impacted by the failure of the House and Senate to reach an agreement on how to continue funding the government by 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

While the most essential government services will basically continue business as usual, the lack of funding for many others will be a minor headache for some Americans, and a serious concern for others.

In remarks Monday, President Barack Obama said children, seniors, and women would be “hamstrung” if the government were to shut down.

“The shutdown will have a very real impact on real people right away,” he said.

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Photo Credit: Lisa Desjardins/CNN

Photo Credit: Lisa Desjardins/CNN

Government shutdown: Get up to speed in 20 questions

By Holly Yan.

Let’s start with the obvious question: What happens now that a shutdown is in place?

Republicans and Democrats could not agree on a spending plan for the fiscal year beginning Tuesday as they wrangled over Obamacare, leaving federal coffers short.

Here’s a quick Q&A to get you caught up on what happened on Monday and what to expect going forward.

1. Why did the government shut down?

Congress has one key duty in the Constitution — pass spending bills that fund the government. If it doesn’t, most functions of government — from funding agencies to paying out small business loans and processing passport requests — grinds to a halt. Key services, like Social Security, air traffic control and military pay continue to be funded. Oh, Congress gets paid, too.

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