(Photo: Charles Dharapak, AP)
WASHINGTON (AP) - A bitterly divided Congress has plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown as a deadlock over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspending all but non-essential government activities.
The shutdown, the first since the winter of 1995-96, closed national parks, museums along the Washington Mall and the U.S. Capitol visitors center. Agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency will be all but shuttered. People classified as essential government employees - such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors - will continue to work.
The military will be paid under legislation freshly signed by Obama but paychecks for other federal workers will be withheld until the impasse is broken.