They can't decide on a fed budget for the new fiscal year which started on October 1st, 2013. and ends in one year. They need this budget to decide how much money they will pay government workers such as people that work for the departments or military. My dad's in the military, and luckily Obama signed a bill where Military personell still get paid in the government shutdown, the government will be shutdown until both congress and the house of reps can decide on a budget for the new fiscal year. Also people that work for the government (not counting military) do not get paid. The Government will be back up soon, don't worry, there are still essential jobs that are government jobs that are getting paid such as policemen and firefighters. All we're waiting on is the Senate and House to agree, but 1/2 of congress is controlled by Republicans, and the other half Democrats, so you can see why we're having problems there.