The first partial shutdown of the federal government in more than 17 years is underway. The shutdown started at midnight Washington time as the U.S. 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 the Affordable Care Act, 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. Social Security checks will still be issued and the TSA will still be on the job at airports. At Scott Air Force Base, about three-thousand civilian workers will be furloughed. The public will be barred from tours of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis will be closed to visitors for the duration of the shutdown. The National Great Rivers Museum at the Mel Price Locks and Dam in Alton is also closed. All are operated by the federal government.