Obama: Shutdown is result of ideological crusade
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says House Republicans have shut down the federal government over an "ideological crusade" against his health care law.
Obama spoke in the Rose Garden on the first day of the government shutdown.
The President is hailing a "historic day" for uninsured Americans who now can purchase health care coverage through new insurance exchanges. He says the opportunity is life-changing for those who could not afford health care before Tuesday's launch of the exchanges.
The president spoke in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday alongside a group of citizens who plan to purchase insurance through the system. His message to Americans is that the health care exchanges will not shut down since they are previously funded.
The president says Republicans should not be able to hold the entire economy "hostage." He is urging them to reopen the government quickly and allow furloughed federal employees to go back to work.
The government shut down because Congress did not pass a funding bill ahead of Monday's midnight deadline for the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
President Barack Obama is telling federal workers he hopes Washington quickly resolves the government shutdown that has forced many out the door.
In a letter emailed to federal employees, Obama says the shutdown was "completely preventable." And he calls on the House of Representatives to pass a law reopening the government and giving workers back pay.
The president also laments that government employees have become "punching bags" in Washington's partisan fiscal fights. About 800,000 federal workers are being forced off the job because Congress did not pass a bill to keep the government funded ahead of Monday's midnight deadline for the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
Obama says that if the shutdown continues, it will make it more difficult to recruit talented people for government jobs.