US government shutdown begins after Congress fails to break impasse
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US government began a partial shutdown on Tuesday for the first time in 17 years, potentially putting up to 1 million workers on unpaid leave, closing national parks and stalling medical research projects.
Federal agencies were directed to cut back services after lawmakers could not break a political stalemate that sparked new questions about the ability of a deeply divided Congress to perform its most basic functions.
After House Republicans floated a late offer to break the logjam, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected the idea, saying Democrats would not enter into formal negotiations on spending “with a gun to our head” in the form of government shutdowns.
The political dysfunction at the Capitol also raised fresh concerns about whether Congress can meet a crucial mid-October deadline to raise the government’s US$16.7 trillion (S$21 trillion) debt ceiling.