WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama says House Republicans have shut down the federal government over an “ideological crusade” against his health care law.
Congress plunged the nation into a partial shutdown Tuesday amid a long-running dispute over the Affordable Care Act. The issue stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services.
President Obama, speaking from the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday afternoon, slammed House Republicans, saying they chose to defund part of the government.
“They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans,” said the president. “In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.”
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.
“We know that the last time Republicans shut down the government in 1996, it hurt our economy,” said Obama.
The president noted the economy is more fragile now than it was 17 years ago.
People classified as essential government employees — such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors — will continue to work.
In New York, 72,000 federal employees are expected to be out of work.
On Long Island, the shutdown has so far not frozen Nassau County’s superstorm Sandy cleanup efforts.
“We have people and staff in various departments that deal with the federal government just double-checking and trying to understand if there is any local effect. There doesn’t appear to be any right now. But again, very early. Just happened last night,” County Executive Ed Mangano told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.