WASHINGTON, D.C. - 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. He says the longer the shutdown continues, the worse the impact will be.
The president said 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.
His message to Americans is that the health care exchanges will not shut down since they are previously funded. Much of federal government has been shuttered because Congress hasn't passed a budget bill.
Obama accused Republicans of making the concept of keeping people uninsured "the centerpiece of their agenda."
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
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.
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