Some of America's most popular tourist sites have been forced to close due to a partial shutdown of US government services, known as a 'shutdown'. It was caused by a failure by politicians to agree its new budget - the first time in 17 years.
ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports:
Barack Obama blamed Republicans for an "ideological crusade" aimed at his healthcare program as he urged lawmakers to vote to keep government operations running without conditions.
"They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans," he said from the White House.
"Many Representatives have made it clear that had they been allowed by Speaker Boehner to take a simple up or down vote on keeping government open with no strings attached, enough votes from both parties would have kept the American people's government open and operating," he said.
The house is bitterly divided over Obamacare, and could not agree a programme for funding government services. Thousands of federal workers began what will be a period of unpaid leave today. It is unclear how long the shutdown will last.
Among the popular tourist attractions caught in the midst of a row over setting the new government budget is the Statue of Liberty.
Its park ranger told ITV News : "I don't profess to understand this. I just hope Congress does their job so we can go back to doing ours".
School children visiting Washington DC have been unable to visit landmarks and museums including the National Archives, which house the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Instead classes have gathered outside to be told about their nations history and read about how the political situation has resulted in the shutdown of so much of their government in the newspapers.