Storm clouds hang over Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, as the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate stand at an impasse with Congress continuing to struggle over how to fund the government and prevent a possible shutdown. The Democratic-led Senate was ready Friday to approve legislation to keep the U.S. government running, but disputes with the Republican-run lower chamber of Congress ensured that the battle would spill over into the weekend, as a potential shutdown hurtles closer. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
NEW YORK (AP) - A bitter budget fight has led to a U.S. government shutdown, leaving hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks and shutting down federal services all over the country.
A midnight deadline to avert a shutdown passed amid Congressional bickering. That could impact on Americans' ability to get government services ranging from federally-backed home loans to supplemental food assistance for children and pregnant women.
For many Americans who are civilian employees of the federal government, it means no more paychecks as they're forced onto unpaid furloughs. For those still working, it means delays in getting paid.
Some workers are allowed to work a few hours Tuesday to change voicemail messages or fill out time cards. But after that, they're under strict orders to do no work, even check their email.
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