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Topics: House of Representatives

Congress fails to reach deal on federal spending and Obamacare as government enters partial shutdown

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Obamacare,Senate,House of Representatives,OMB,Harry Reid,Debt Ceiling,Chuck Schumer,Government Shutdown

The federal government partially shut down for the first time in 17 years at the stroke of midnight Tuesday while Congress remained deadlocked over a temporary funding bill.

"It is past midnight, the government is officially shut down. That is not a good thing if you are a Republican or a Democrat," Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said.

The failure of Congress to agree on a spending bill means that 800,000 federal employees will be furloughed Tuesday and others will have to work without pay. Some services, including Social Security and Medicare, are not affected by the shutdown. Lawmakers also ensured that military personnel will continue to be paid.

When the clock struck midnight Monday, Democrats and Republicans were arguing on the House floor over the latest House GOP proposal, which would create a special conference committee in which the House and Senate could work out their differences on the spending resolution.

Shortly after 1 a.m., the House voted 228 to 199 to go to conference on the spending resolution. The Democratic-run Senate, however, has vowed to kill the measure when it reconvenes later Tuesday morning.

The Republican-led House wants the government funding resolution to limit or stop the new health care law. Senate Democrats are insisting on a "clean" bill that only provides funding for the government with no strings attached.

"I hope the Senate will accept our offer to go to conference so we can resolve this for the American people," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after the House vote.

It was the fourth proposal the GOP-led House has sent over to the Senate since early Sunday, when it passed a government spending bill that would have defunded Obamacare. Other proposals would have delayed the health care law or at least part of it, for one year.

The new House plan calls for the two chambers to appoint lawmakers to sit down and work on a compromise on a bill that would fund the government. The measure would include a provision that would delay by one year the Obamacare mandate that individuals purchase health insurance, a proposal the Senate already rejected. It would also include a provision that eliminates special subsidies paid to Congress and congressional staff to help purchase health insurance in newly created exchanges.

"The House has voted to keep the government open, but we also want basic fairness for all Americans under Obamacare," Boehner said.

The Office of Management and Budget, meanwhile, issued a memo just before midnight advising that federal agencies "should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations."

National parks and passport offices will close and paychecks for nonessential government workers will cease until a funding bill is signed into law.

Before the House even voted on the conference committee plan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., flanked by other Democratic leaders on the Senate floor, rejected the idea outright.

Democrats want the House to send over a spending bill that would keep the government operating, but includes no other policy add-ons.

"All the talking in conference will not help the federal worker who is not getting a paycheck," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the No. 3 Senate Democrat, said.

Reid dismissed the GOP plan as "some Jerry-rigged thing" and evidence that House Republicans are being dominated by "the Tea Party, the anarchists of this country."

The House and Senate were expected to take up the debate again on Tuesday.

Here are the Republican conferees named by House leaders:

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, of Virginia

House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, of Michigan

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, of Kentucky

House Budget Committee Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin

Rep. John Carter, of Texas

Rep. Ander Crenshaw, of Florida

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey

Rep. Tom Graves, of Georgia

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Author:

Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner