All-night talks, deal-making and political arm-wrestling have failed to stave off government shutdown in the United States.
Non-essential federal services are being closed and employees laid off immediately after the Democrat-controlled Senate fought off three Republican House attacks on Obamacare, the budget being held hostage for the president’s health reforms.
“The Senate has continued to reject our offers. But under the Constitution there is a way to resolve this process and that is to go to conference and talk through your differences. And I would hope that the Senate would accept our offer to go to conference and discuss this so we can resolve this for the American people,” said Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
It is the first time in nearly 20 years US government has ground to a halt over irreconcilable political differences in Washington. It could have huge implications for the rest of the world.
Speaking to the nation immediately after the deadlock, President Obama laid the blame firmly on Capitol Hill.
“I know the days ahead could mean more uncertainty including possible furloughs and I know this comes on top of the furloughs that many of you already endured this summer. You and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we’re seeing in Congress. Your talents and dedication help keep our military the best in the world. That’s why I’ll keep working to get Congress to reopen our government and get you back to work as soon as possible,” he said.
Civilian military personnel go on immediate unpaid leave, and in total one million federal workers may go unpaid. National parks will close along with museums and national monuments. If the climate doesn’t change an upcoming vote to extend the national debt may also fail, which would mean America defaulting on payments to international creditors.