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US government workers awake to shutdown

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of federal workers woke up yesterday with the US government still shut down and the Senate expected to try again to restore federal funding, if only temporarily, and work on resolving a dispute over immigration.

Amid uncertainty about whether federal employees should report to work in the morning, senators were set to vote at midday on a funding bill to get the lights back on in Washington and across the government until early February.

Support for the bill was uncertain, after Republicans and Democrats spent all day on Sunday trying to strike a deal, only to go home for the night short of an agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said late on Sunday that an overnight vote on a measure to fund government operations through February 8 was cancelled and would instead be held at 12pm yesterday (midnight last night, Phnom Penh time).

Up until yesterday, most federal workers were not directly affected by the shutdown that began at midnight on Friday.

Many were still awaiting notification on whether they are “essential” employees or not, which would determine whether they must report to their offices.

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