The federal government officially shut down for the first time in 17 years at 12:01am on October 1, 2013 Tuesday, after House Republicans refused to drop demands that parts of the Affordable Care Act be delayed in return for approval of a mandatory government funding bill.
Republican controlled House demanded a one year delay on the Affordable Care Act/Obama Care but Democrat controlled Senate would not budge. The US government runs on a fiscal year that starts from October 1 and ends on September 30. And coincidentally, the open enrollment for Affordable Care Act/Obama Care were schedule to start on October 1, 2013. How long the government shutdown remains to be seen.
The last US Government shutdown happened during 1995-1996 conflict between funding for Medicare, education and public health. The US Government shutdown lasted for 28 days during the last shutdown. The major players were President Bill Clinton and Speaker of the US House of Representative, Newt Gingrich.