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. He said 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 urged them to reopen the government quickly and allow furloughed federal employees to go back to work.
The president earlier lamented 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 said that if the shutdown continues, it will make it more difficult to recruit talented people for government jobs.
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