Clock Ticks Down to Zero, Question Now is How Long Is Government Shut Down? - UPDATE
UPDATE, OCTOBER 1, 12:01 am EDT: the White House Office of Management and Budget has issued the government shutdown order. A link is provided at the end of this article.
ORIGINAL STORY, SEPTEMBER 30, 11:55 pm EDT: The Senate this evening rejected continued House attempts to link continued government funding to delays in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the clock ticked down to midnight and the beginning fo FY2014. House Republicans countered by introducing an amendment calling for a conference with the Senate, a step that clearly cannot be completed before midnight. With no government funding in sight, a shutdown is inevitable. The question now is how long it will last.
As midnight approaches, the House is debating a House Republican proposal requesting a conference with the Senate over the Continuing Resolution (CR). The two sides of Capitol Hill have been passing the CR back and forth for several days rather than holding a formal conference. Either avenue is an acceptable path to reaching compromise and Democrats claim they have been seeking a conference with the House over the federal budget for months, but the Republicans have refused.
The battle is between House Republicans who insist on tying continued government funding either to defunding or delaying ACA (Obamacare) and the Senate insisting on a "clean" CR that deals only with funding the government without political provisions. Each party is blaming the other.
Meanwhile, the government will shutdown in minutes. It actually is a partial shutdown since some "excepted" activities will continue. Late this evening, the President signed into law a bill that allows military personnel to be paid despite the shutdown. Civilians who are engaged in excepted activities -- like operating the International Space Station -- will be paid eventually, once a funding bill is signed into law. Hundreds of thousands of government civilian employees will be furloughed and there is no guarantee they will ever be paid.
Whether this is for a day, a few days, a week or several weeks is unknown at this point.
The White House Office of Management and Budget issued the shutdown order as midnight arrived.
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