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5 things to know today about the government shutdown

7:34 AM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON - Republicans and Democrats in Congress are playing pingpong over funding the government and President Obama's health care law. The first government shutdown since 1996 will occur if lawmakers and the White House don't work things out.

MORE: 66 questions and answers about the shutdown

Here are the five things to know about the pending shutdown for Monday, Sept. 30:

The state of play: The new fiscal year starts Tuesday, Oct. 1, so a bill to fund the government must be passed by both chambers in Congress and signed by Obama by midnight tonight.

Who's got the ball? The Senate, because the House passed a spending bill early Sunday that would also delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year. The House also voted to repeal a 2.3% tax on medical devices to help pay for the health care law. Both policy provisions are non-starters for the Democratic majority in the Senate and the White House - so expect the Senate to send the spending bill back to the House without those items. The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. ET.

What about the House? The lawmakers will gavel into session at 10 a.m. ET, but their legislative agenda is unclear. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., says votes could start as early as 11 a.m. ET depending on any Senate action.

Where is Obama? He's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then the Cabinet.So far, the president hasn't been negotiating with Congress to resolve the budget impasse. As for the health care law, the state-run health exchanges to help people buy insurance are set to begin Tuesday.

Will I feel the shutdown? Yes and no. Social Security recipients will receive benefits, mail service will continue and taxes will still be collected. But if you wanted to visit a national park, historic site or a Smithsonian museum, those gates and doors will shut Tuesday without funding. For more detail, USA TODAY's Gregory Korte provides answers to 66 questions about the government shutdown.

Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

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