The question is no longer, "Will the government shut down?" It's, "How long will the shutdown last?" After an evening of back-and-forth bills between the House and Senate, the clock has run out, and the government indeed began shutting down at midnight for the first time in 17 years, reports the Washington Post. That means about 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed immediately, and a host of government services will be suspended. (The mail will still be delivered.) Lawmakers did manage one thing: The Senate unanimously passed a measure that makes sure US troops will get paid during the shutdown, reports Politico.
Tonight's political ping-pong began when House Republicans voted in favor of an amendment to the spending bill that would delay ObamaCare's individual mandate for one year and wipe out a health-insurance subsidy for members of Congress, their staffers, and the president. The vote was 228-201; the Senate promptly rejected the House bill and sent it back. Rather than try to jam another doomed bill through, John Boehner instead opted to appoint a committee to try to hash out differences between the two parties over the next few days. (Read more shutdown stories.)