The United States is currently in the grips of its first government shutdown since 2013 and with no budget in place, both sides of the aisle are refusing to budge.

For much of last week, senators, congressmen and the White House were in deep talks to discuss a new budget, but disagreements meant that they missed their deadline at midnight on Saturday (20 January).

While there have been a number of shutdowns over the years, this marks the first time that one has taken place despite a single party, in this case the Republicans, controlling the White House, Senate and the House.

What happens during a US government shutdown?

When the US government shuts down, all non-essential staff are furloughed, which means that they are sent home and are not paid until the government resumes.

While thousands of workers will not show up for work on Monday morning, people in jobs that protect "life or human property" such as the military, law enforcement and air traffic control will remain at work.

Those who do work however, may not receive their cheques until the end of the budget impasse.

What has caused the shutdown?

Funding in the US for government services requires approval at various stages. A previous possible shutdown came in the autumn, but officials on the Hill were able to agree a short-term measure to keep government running until 20 January. Unlike in the autumn, there were no such agreements this time around.

Republicans in the House passed the needed stop-gap for funding legislation, but their colleagues in the upper chamber, the Senate, require support from 10 Democrats. Five Democrats supported the stop-gap, but five Republicans voted against the measures.

On this occasion, the disagreements focus on events inside the White House. Politicians from both sides of the house met with Donald Trump last week to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) bill. Trump has called for the end of protection for the 800,000 so called Daca "dreamers."

Democrats want to see a deal that will ensure protections for the dreamers, but discussion in the White House ended without agreement, resulting in the now infamous "shithole" meeting in which Trump made derogatory remarks about Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.

When will the shutdown end?

Negotiations are ongoing in Washington with the possibility of a new Senate vote on Monday (22 January).

Senate majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell said that he was hoping to reach a deal that would see government through until 8 February.

Both sides want to see a quick agreement to the ongoing impasse, but time doesn't appear to be healing political wounds. Attacks from senators, the White House and others have only intensified over the weekend.

Senators and representatives refuse to take pay during shutdown

This November, midterm elections will see many careers put on the line, and to avoid political defeats at the ballot box, congressmen are sticking to their guns. One measure that some are taking to look good to constituents, is to refuse pay.

Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina (Republican) has asked for his pay to be withheld until the end of the budgetary chaos.

Republican congressman Scott Taylor of Virginia, tweeted that he plans to donate his salary to a military/veterans' charity each day the government is shut down.

The Democratic senator from Nevada, Catherine Cortez Musto, said that she too would be donating her salary. In a statement, Musto said: "I will not go home and take my salary for as long as my constituents are being impacted by President Trump's irresponsible choice to shut down the government."

Democratic Representative John Delaney of Maryland said that he too would donate his salary during the shutdown.

On Friday (19 January), five Democrats went a step further and called for legislation that would keep members of Congress from getting paid during shutdowns.

Despite the push for change, the legislation wouldn't be able to to take hold until January 2019, meaning it couldn't cover the current or any other shutdowns in 2018.

US Congress
Reuters/Jonathan Ernst