1 Oct 2013

US Govt braces for fiscal shutdown

6:35 am on 1 October 2013

The US government is bracing for a possible shutdown, as Republicans and Democrats in Congress remain deadlocked on a budget to continue its funding.

Political divisions over President Barack Obama's healthcare law mean that if no agreement is reached, the current budget will run out, the BBC reports.

Non-essential federal services face closure, with employees sidelined or left working without pay.

The looming shutdown is only one of two fiscal crises facing the federal government.

On 17 October, the Treasury department's authority to borrow money to fund its debt obligations also expires unless Congress approves a rise in the federal debt ceiling.

Washington faced a similar impasse over its debt ceiling in 2011, but a compromise was reached, involving a series of automatic budget cuts which came into effect earlier this year.

The federal government has not experienced a shutdown since 1995-96, when services were suspended for a 21 days.