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Federal government shuts down, first time in 17 years

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A failure to pass a budget by midnight Monday resulted in a shutdown of the federal government, the first in 17 years.

While most students receiving Pell Grants or federal student loans will be unaffected, as those programs are funded by multi-year appropriations, most federal employees who process those will have to go on furlough.

Tens of thousands of federally employed workers will have to go on furlough, services such as food assistance will be stopped and national parks and monuments will be closed. President Barack Obama signed a measure late Monday that will ensure payment to members of the military.

The main areas of contention involved President Obama’s health care law. As the deadline grew closer, actions made were tense and deliberate.

“We will not go to conference with a gun to our head,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, referring to a move to create non-bipartisan committees from the House and Senate without enough time for parliamentary procedure.

“The fear shouldn’t be what’s going to happen at 12 o’clock tonight,” Representative Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said Monday night. “The fear needs to be on the future, what’s going to happen with jobs, what’s going to happen with health insurance for the American people.”

Washington D.C. is tense with members of both parties showing frustration with the turmoil-ridden budget negotiations.

“It’s moronic to shut down the government over this,” Representative Devin Nunes, R-Calif. said, referring to the push to eliminate a law that would open insurance exchanges, which are set to be put in place soon.

Representative Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. said, “The scary thing about the period we’re in right now is there is no clear end.”

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