Government Shuts Down amid Congressional Fighting

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The federal government has partially shut down Tuesday as Republicans and the president duke it out over Obamacare.

Some 800,000 federal workers are off the job as a dispute over President Barack Obama's signature health care law reached the boiling point. Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for the first shutdown in nearly two decades.

"We believe that we should fund the government  and we think there ought to be basic fairness for all Americans under Obamacare," House Speaker John Boehner said.

House Republicans have tied their effort to de-fund or delay Obamacare to approving a short-term extension of the federal budget.

Will the government shutdown hurt the U.S. economy? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses that question and more on "The 700 Club," Oct. 1

"They are doing this to protect the American people from the consequences of Obamacare," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said of House Republicans.

This morning, the Senate rejected the latest in a series of bills from the House that would fund the government for six weeks while House and Senate negotiators work out a larger deal that would also make changes to the health care law.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will only agree to the meeting if the Republicans pass a short-term funding bill without changes to Obamacare.

What kind of impact will the partial government shutdown have on the average American? Phil Kerpen, president of "American Commitment," answers this and more, on CBN Newswatch, Oct. 1.

"The government is closed because of the irrationality of what's going on on the other side of the Capitol," he said of the House.

Obama said House Republicans have shut down the federal government over an "ideological crusade" against his health care law.

"I know it's strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is," Obama said Tuesday. "And of course what's stranger still is that shutting down our government doesn't accomplish their stated goal."

But speaking on CBN's "700 Club" program, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich blasted the president for refusing the negotiate and said Republicans must not cave to pressure.

"The Republicans have to hang tough. The House Republicans absolutely have to hold out on this because Obama has to learn that he has to negotiate," Gingrich said. "For the House Republicans to cave after this much effort would be a terrible lesson for the country to teach this president that he's above the law, that he can make demands, he doesn't need to negotiate (and) he's not part of the process."

Meanwhile, "closed" signs and barricades sprang up early Tuesday at the Lincoln Memorial and other monuments. The National Park Service was turning off 45 fountains around the capital city.

People classified as essential government employees - such as air traffic controllers are still on the job.

Today, a group of WWII veterans and about a dozen members of Congress broke into the WWII Memorial to see it. Click here for pictures of the incident.

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CBN News
Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at