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While you slept, the government stopped

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). House Republicans did not find common ground with President Obama and Senate Democrats on the federal budget on Monday, which means segments of the federal government will close, hundreds of thousands of workers will be furloughed without pay and millions more will be asked to work for no pay.

Congress failed to agree on a spending deal overnight, which means the government shutdown is now reality. Approximately 800,000 federal workers will not be working and many government offices are closed. 

Marketplace's David Gura is covering the story from Washington and says its uncertain how long the shutdown will last. 

"We're right up against that debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the U.S. wont be able to pay its bills as of October 17th unless Congress acts."

The shutdown requires 'non-essential' government employees to stop working.

"Almost all of NASA's employees are furloughed and the same thing is true of the EPA. We'll see the courts stay open and the U.S. Postal Service -- they're going to stay up and running as well," says Gura. 

The shutdown is bound to rattle investors who are worried the resolution of the debt ceiling may be more complicated than once thought. The last government shutdown in 1995 and 1996 went on for more than 20 days and cost taxpayers almost $1.5 billion dollars. And the cost to the American people will be greater the longer the shutdown lasts. 

Marketplace's David Gura joins Marketplace Morning Report host Mark Garrison to discuss. Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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