(Washington, DC) -- The first partial shutdown of the federal government in more than 17 years is underway. The shutdown started shortly after midnight, Eastern time as the House and Senate could not agree on a plan to extend government funding. Midnight marked the end of the 2013 fiscal year. A key sticking point involved insistence by House Republicans to hinder Obamacare, a non-starter in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The shutdown is prompting furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal employees, the closure of national parks and delays in processing federal forms and licenses.
Many government employees involved in defense, homeland security and public safety will remain on the job. Members of the military will continue receiving regular paychecks but many others may be forced to accept deferred pay. That list includes airport screeners, air traffic controllers, federal prison guards and border inspectors. The U.S. mail will still be delivered and the mail will continue to carry Social Security and Medicare checks.