House Speaker John Boehner walks out of a Republican caucus at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday night before the House vote. (Photo: Molly Riley, AP)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has missed the deadline for averting the first partial government shutdown in 17 years.
As the clock struck midnight Monday, House Republicans were demanding that the Senate negotiate their demand for a one-year delay in making millions of people buy health insurance under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law. Minutes before midnight, the White House ordered a shutdown.
The Democratic Senate on Monday twice rejected GOP demands to delay key portions of what has become to known as Obamacare as a condition for keeping the government open.
An estimated 800,000 federal workers faced furloughs though many were told work a half day Tuesday. Critical functions like air traffic control and military operations will continue. Social Security benefits will be paid. National parks and most federal offices will close.
The White House also released details about conversations the President had with leaders in Congress. The text is below.
This evening, the President placed separate calls to Senate Majority Leader Reid, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Democratic Leader Pelosi. The President made clear that Congress has two jobs to do: pay the bills on time and pass a budget on time. Failure to fulfill those responsibilities is harmful to our economy, small businesses and middle class families across the country.
The President made clear to the Republican Leadership that they must act, as the Senate has, to pass the bill that funds the government for six weeks that doesn't include any extraneous ideological riders. The President urged the House to bring up this clean Continuing Resolution for a vote tonight to keep the government open and avoid a shutdown.
The President reinforced with the Republican Leaders that he will continue to oppose any politically-motivated attempts to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, attempts which would never pass the Senate or become law. And he reiterated that he will not negotiate on the debt limit: Congress must pay the bills it has already incurred and avoid a devastating blow to our economy.
The President expressed his gratitude to the Democratic Leaders for their efforts to support and pass a clean bill that funds the government at current levels, and made clear that leaders in Washington have a responsibility to do more than just avert disaster. That's why the President will continue to work with members in both parties to pass a budget that protects the kinds of investments we need to grow the economy, create good jobs and build a better bargain for the middle class.
WEB EXTRA: Questions and Answers About the Government Shutdown http://on.wgrz.com/19RoLS5
Western New York Congressional delegation speaks out
Scroll down to the bottom of this article to read statements that were released over the weekend by Congressmen Chris Collins (R), Brian Higgins (D) and Tom Reed (R) concerning Sunday's vote, in addition to excerpts of a phone interview with Collins conducted with 2 On Your Side on Sunday afternoon.
Q&A: How will the shutdown affect you?
Most of the public would not feel the effects of a shutdown immediately. Government operations considered essential, like mail delivery, air-traffic control and Social Security and Medicare, would continue unabated, but national parks and museums would close. Certain government employees would not get paid, but they would receive back pay when the government reopens. A short-term shutdown is unlikely to cause much long-term economic damage unless it drags on longer.
Congressman Chris Collins interview excerpts:
"I think it's a foregone conclusion that there will be a government shutdown at midnight on Monday, and while talks will continue, we in the House are not going to pass simply a continuing resolution without dealing with the problems with this nation."
"Social security checks will still be paid, medicare will still be paid so people seeing their doctors on Medicaid, the mail's going to be delivered, the nation's military is still in place, so I really think the average American is not going to see much of any impact on their lives as we enter next week with the high probability of a shutdown on Monday."
"Obamacare is a wet blanket on the economy and jobs, so there's a whole litany of issues that need to be addressed. So the President's out playing golf and the senate's sitting at home."
Statement from Congressman Chris Collins:
"For the second time this week, I was proud to vote for a bill that keeps the government funded, pays our troops, but stops the train wreck that is ObamaCare.
"The question facing Washington Democrats is very simple - will they vote again to shut the government down in order to protect Obamacare and continue hurting our economy and harming the families of the 27th district?
"My constituents have spoken very clearly - it is time for Washington Democrats to stop playing legislative games, keep the government funded and finally end the train wreck that is Obamacare. The choice is theirs."
Statement from Congressman Brian Higgins:
"On Friday the Senate approved and sent to the House a clean budget resolution, free of politically charged add-ins, that would accomplish the simple and responsible goal of funding the budget and keeping the federal government running.
"Rather than bringing that bill to the floor for consideration, the American economy and people have been hijacked by a small group of Congressional extremists who insist on making a political statement at any expense.
"By insisting on a politically charged bill, House Republicans chose politics over people. It puts us on a fast-track to government shutdown. It was avoidable, unnecessary and will cost hard-working Americans."
Statement from Congressman Tom Reed:
"Today [Sunday] the House acted to treat Americans fairly and delay Obamacare for one year. The President already said his health care law isn't good enough for big business by giving businesses a one year delay. Extending that delay to all American families is the fair thing to do. The House bill is a reasonable approach that keeps the government open and funded, similar to what I introduced with my 'Fair CR.'
"Additionally, the House passed legislation today to ensure our troops are paid in the event of a shutdown, following language in my Pay Our Veterans and Seniors First Act.
"The House also voted to permanently repeal one of the most damaging aspects of Obamacare that would tack on additional costs for employees, small businesses, and manufacturers: the medical device tax. These are three reasonable steps for the country to take and now it is up to the Senate to act when it decides to return to Washington.
"I will continue to fight to see that special exemptions are eliminated under Obamacare. Congress, congressional staff, the President and Vice President should be treated equally under the law, just like every other American and federal employee. It is common sense to remove this special treatment under Obamacare."
AP/ USA TODAY