US government shutdown starts today. This is the first time since 1995-96 that this event has recurred. The shutdown was imposed as the Republicans and the Democrats failed to reach an agreement on spending and budget mainly due to their differences over the healthcare reforms, which is popularly know as Obamacare - an initiative dear to President Barack Obama who has risked a shutdown to push it through.
With neither side blinking, despite last minute hectic efforts from both side, the White House immediately ordered the federal government agencies to begin shutting down, furloughing thousands of workers and curtailing some services for the first time in nearly 18 years.
"Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility. It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, a shutdown has been imposed on much of our government down until Congress funds it again," Barack Obama said in a video message to the armed services shortly after the shutdown came into effect.
"The threats to our national security have not changed, and we need you to be ready for any contingency. Ongoing military operations - like our efforts in Afghanistan - will continue. If you're serving in harm's way, we're going to make sure you have what you need to succeed in your missions," he said.
"Congress has passed, and I am signing into law, legislation to make sure you get your paychecks on time. And we'll continue working to address any impact this shutdown has on you and your families," Barack Obama said.
Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations, the Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell said her a guidance to the agencies directing them to execute their plans for an orderly shutdown of the Federal government.
"We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations," the guidance said.
Shutdown, the first in 18 years, means that national parks will close, most routine food inspections will be suspended, paperwork will slow at government offices and many federal employees will be furloughed.
Only emergency and essential