The Federal Government Shutdown Is On
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says later this morning the Senate once again will reject a House Republican attempt to tie an emergency government spending bill to making changes in the health care law.
Debate on Capitol Hill went well past midnight — the deadline to reach a spending agreement or the government would partially shut down.
People classified as essential government employees will continue to work as the federal government experiences a partial shutdown.
That covers air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors.
Government workers such as those at national parks and museums are being told to stay home.
The self-funded Postal Service will continue to operate and the government will continue to pay Social Security benefits and Medicare and Medicaid fees to doctors on time.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Pentagon and administration lawyers are looking for ways to expand the number of Defense Department civilians who are exempt from furloughs, amid worries that the government shutdown is damaging U.S. credibility among its international allies.
Hagel says he has been asked about the budget battle during his visit here in Seoul. He says it raises questions about whether allies can depend on the U.S. as a reliable partner.
Half of the department's 800,000 civilian workers are slated for furloughs beginning today.
Hagel has been talking with his senior budget advisers, and says they are exploring whether they can allow more of those 400,000 furloughed civilians to continue working. He says there is no answer yet.