Afghan mission unaffected as US govt shuts down
Republican and Democrats failed in their last-minute efforts to talk out their long-running differences on spending on healthcare reforms, now popularly known as Obamacare, according to the Pajhwok correspondent in Washington.
As an agreement on the emotive issue remained elusive, President Barack Obama ordered federal government agencies to begin shutting down, furloughing thousands of workers and curtailing some services.
In a video message to the armed forces soon after the shutdown took effect, the president said: "Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility. It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again."
Obama added US national security threats had not yet changed, asking his security forces to be ready for any contingency. "Ongoing military operations, like our efforts in Afghanistan, will continue. If you're serving in harm's way, we're going to make sure you have what you need to succeed in your missions."
Immediate ramifications include placing around 700,000 federal workers on indefinite unpaid leave. Republicans insisted they would only vote to fund the federal government in return for a one-year delay to the health reform law, according to foreign news agencies.
The federal government remained shut for 21 days in late 1995 and early 1996 when Republicans tried to force then president Bill Clinton to cut public spending. The tactic backfired and Clinton was easily re-elected later that year.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.