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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More