The US Capitol in Washington DC
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US government heading towards historic shutdown

At one minute past midnight on Tuesday morning the US government faces a historic shutdown.

So far the country's two main political parties - the Democrats and the Republicans - can't agree on how the country should be funded for the next year.

If an agreement can't be reached then museums, National Parks and passport offices will all close.

Around 800,000 government employees will also be sent home without pay.

What are they arguing about?

The main sticking point between the two parties is how much money should be spent on healthcare.

In America going to the doctors or hospital can be very expensive.

A lot of companies provide their employees with health insurance, which helps pay for treatment, but that's not the case for everyone.

President Obama wants business owners and the richest members of the American population to pay taxes that will go towards covering the cost of healthcare for those people that can't afford it.

But a lot of Republicans don't want to pay for this and say they won't support a plan that does.

What will happen if the US government shuts down?

If the two political parties fail to reach an agreement before midnight some government run services would shut down.

Over three quarters of a million government workers would be sent home without pay, including staff at Nasa, the defence department and even The White House.

Museums, National Parks and iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty would close.

It's also predicted the shutdown would cost the country over £1.25 billion.

Is it really going to happen?

Most experts believe that the US will avoid a government shutdown, by agreeing a short-term three-month deal.

But that wouldn't necessarily mean the end of Americas problems.

The US currently has a debt of around $17.5 trillion and a long-term budget plan is needed to help bring that figure drastically down.

However, while in the past, last-minute deals have been struck, this time around, there seems to be much less chance of that happening.

  • 30 Sep 2013