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A deal to approve a short-term measure to keep the U.S. government funded into the next fiscal year was not reached, prompting the first shutdown of the government in 17 years. Congress was still in session as the 12:01 a.m. deadline passed early Tuesday (Oct. 1) morning, with debates and votes still to come in the GOP-led House of Representatives.

Dozens of outlets have been live blogging and streaming the heated debates between the major bodies of Congress, which is haggling over the funding bill and parts of the Affordable Care Act.

After the House demanded a year-long delay of Obamacare over the weekend in order to fund the government, the extreme Conservative demands of Sen. Ted. Cruz and other GOP hardliners pushed Speaker John Boehner to side with the vocal Tea Party faction within his party.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already rejected the House demands to hold a bipartisan conference of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress. Reid said shortly before the midnight deadline, “We will not go to conference with a gun to our heads.”

The House also proposed a similar committee of mixed groups of lawmakers to debate the finer points of the Senate’s so-called “clean” government funding bill and the House’s latest proposal to delay key portions of Obamacare and cut healthcare subsidies for Hill staffers. It has been speculated that the Republican majority of the House knew the Democrat-led Senate would not agree to the conference or committee talks, thus making shutdown inevitable.

The House measure would have funded the government until mid-December, but the Senate voted along party lines to send the bill back with hopes that an agreement would be made and federal shutdown would have been averted.

The federal government has begun the shutdown process, and agencies nationwide are carrying out their respective plans according to procedure from the Office of Management and Budget. Sen. Reid said the Senate will reconvene later in the morning.

This story is developing.

Photo: Reuters

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