Democrats and Republicans failed to come to compromise and to resolve their differences over the president’s health care program, forcing the government to shut down.
The House of Representatives, run by Republicans, insisted on delaying President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform as an obligatory condition for passing a bill.
According to recent estimates, about 800,000 federal employees will face unpaid leave with no guarantee of back pay when the deadlock is over.
President Obama blamed the House of Representatives for the failure to come to a certain division and said he would “keep working to get Congress to reopen the government [and] restart vital services”.
“This shutdown was completely preventable. It should not have happened,” he said in a letter to federal government employees.
“And the House of Representatives can end it as soon as it follows the Senate’s lead, and funds your work in the United States Government without trying to attach highly controversial and partisan measures in the process.”
On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner announced that he hoped the Senate would decide to create a committee between the two chambers known as a conference “so we can resolve this for the American people”.
“The House has voted to keep the government open but we also want basic fairness for all Americans under Obamacare,” he said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor described the situation as “the fault of stubborn Democratic senators who refuse to consider the House’s proposals for delaying “Obamacare.”
“None of us want to be in a shutdown,” Cantor told the crowd. “And we’re here to say to the Senate Democrats, `come and talk to us.”
“Americans are going to become more and more concerned about Obamacare, which is the law, than they are going to be about any short-term shutdown,” said Republican Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, a member of the House leadership.
Meanwhile, famous parks and monuments, supported by federal budget, were the most visible casualty on the first day of the government shutdown in more than a decade.
“In Washington, barricades sprang up at the Lincoln Memorial and other monuments, and the National Park Service was turning off 45 fountains around the capital. National parks from Acadia in Maine to Denali in Alaska followed suit, as did many federal workplaces,” reports The Huffington Post.
“Agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency were virtually shuttered,” the publication reads.
“There has to be better ways to run the government than to get to a standstill like this,” said Cheryl Strahl, who traveled from Atascadero to New York. She was surprised to find the Statue of Liberty closed, despite its famous words of welcome.
By the way, both Republicans and Democrats traded blame for the shutdown, but many seemed deeply embarrassed for the consequences.
Several even suggested to donate their salaries to charity for those people who lost their job.
“This is a black eye on our government at all levels,” said Republican Representative Michael Grimm of New York. “I think it’s a low point for us.”