News / USA

    Partial US Government Shutdown Begins

    Speaker of the House John Boehner, R- Ohio, pauses during a news conference after a House Republican Conference meeting, Sept. 30, 2013.
    Speaker of the House John Boehner, R- Ohio, pauses during a news conference after a House Republican Conference meeting, Sept. 30, 2013.
    Michael Bowman
    The U.S. government has entered a partial shutdown after a politically-deadlocked Congress could not pass a bill to extend funding. Lawmakers worked late into the night but could not overcome a partisan split over President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, a major component of which is being implemented Tuesday.
     
    Three times, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to undermine the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as a condition of funding federal operations. Three times, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected the measures. With Congress unable to agree on an extension of federal spending authority, non-essential U.S. government operations halted early Tuesday.
     
    Democratic Senator Richard Durbin was incredulous over the turn of events.
     
     “Shutting down the government of the United States of America? When you hear about this happening in foreign countries, you think, ‘It is a shame they are not as stable and strong as our great democracy’. And yet here we are,” said Durbin.
     
    The Senate passed its own spending bill free of partisan stipulations about Obamacare or any other matter, but Republican leaders in the House declined to bring that measure to the floor for a vote. Representative Michele Bachmann belongs to a core group of House Republicans that refuses to abandon the fight against Obamacare.
     
    “I have gotten literally hundreds and hundreds of phone calls to my office today, and people have said, ‘Keep fighting. Stand strong’. They want us to stand and fight. They do not want us to give up,” said Bachman.
     
    Other Republicans, such as Senator Lisa Murkowski, think their party’s campaign against Obamacare has gone too far.
     
    “I am not a supporter of the Affordable Care Act. But do I believe that we should shut down the federal government at this point because we have not been able to shut down the Affordable Care Act? I think we have a responsibility here to govern,” said Murkowski.
     
    Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, are united behind President Obama in funding the government while keeping Obamacare intact. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats will hold firm.
     
    “We will not re-litigate the health care debate or negotiate at the point of a gun," said Reid.
     
    In the final hour before the shutdown began, House Republicans suggested a bicameral negotiation to resolve differences between the two chambers, but Senator Reid immediately rejected the idea. Similarly, House Speaker John Boehner ruled out a vote on the Senate funding-only bill.
     
    And so, with no resolution passed, the U.S. government’s authority to spend money expired as the clock struck midnight in Washington. Hours earlier, at the White House, President Obama voiced frustration and disappointment over Congress’ inability to act.
     
    Later on Tuesday, the president will tout provisions of Obamacare that are being activated despite the shutdown. Many Americans of modest means who lack healthcare insurance will be able to sign up for subsidized policies on newly-created insurance exchanges.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jade from: Texas
    October 01, 2013 11:03 AM
    It still blows my mind that anyone with a brain would be okay with Obamacare.Those of you that have crappy jobs, or no jobs(aka the people who put Obama in office), are the only ones who benefit from this. Those of us who actually work and try to make something for ourselves get the short end. We have to pay for the worthless individuals out there who don't work. Let me also point out that I'm by no means rich and, thanks to Obamacare, I'll now be FORCED to pay for expensive company health care. I'm a young healthy girl. I DON'T WANT insurance. I never get sick and I'm just fine without it. So, thank you, Obama. This is SO affordable for EVERYONE. And just an FYI, not all Republicans are RICH(obviously). A lot of us are just people that believe in hard work and making things happen for ourselves, not expecting someone else to do/pay for it for us. All of these co-dependent people leeching on the system are what's bringing our country down, with Obama's help.
    In Response

    by: Reiner from: Toronto
    October 01, 2013 10:37 PM
    Really now! Youth and health do not last forever. My wife is from the US and we have seen friends of hers who have WORKED hard for decades providing for there familiea suddenly fall ill and have to sign over their house to the hospital to get treatment. We live in Canada, with our second prgnancy there were major umforseen health complications-thanks to our socialized health care as you call it we were able to have first class health even as an average family. Our 1lb 10oz litle girl spent 3 months in the NICU with constant nursing attendance. Can you even fathom what that costs. Now we have a healthy precocious 3 year old that brightens our every day. We are not draining society we both work and pay our taxes which fund the health care system, and when are daughter grows up she will pay her part too. I think the US is a great country, but when it comes to health care for all it's citizens it plays favorites. Don't write off the rest of the world as being stupid, you could maybe learn something from it!

    by: jameyoneill
    October 01, 2013 3:28 AM
    Shut down the federal government ? How stupid!! That's not gonna solve anything at all!! The house of representatives won't suffer from this, they r already rich!! Lots of people will lose their jobs and will be in need of help, then where will America be then?

    by: Paula from: Utah
    October 01, 2013 1:18 AM
    Shame on the House of Representatives for being so against the Affordable Healthcare Act. Its done so get over it many people will benefit from this. You act worse than a bunch of children. Now you want to punish the US Govt by being difficult and allowing for the shut down to happen. Think of the many people that will be affected by this, not only will it be the employees and their families but people who rely on the services.

    by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Victoria, BC, Canada
    October 01, 2013 12:31 AM
    Does this mean USA Foreign Aid has come to a stop -- no money and arms to Israel, none to African nations, none to South American countries, none to Asian countries? None?
    Full Stop. No foreign aid checks for weapons to anyone? Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Several months of government shut down and there will be World Peace! Excellent.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora