(24/7 News) -- President Obama is urging House Republicans to extend funding and avert a government shutdown at midnight tonight. In a statement at the White House, Obama said Congress has an obligation to pass budgets and pay the nation's bills. He warned that a shutdown will have deep impacts across the country, including harming the fragile economic recovery.
Obama said a shutdown "does not have to happen." Without a bipartisan deal to continue funding, a government shutdown will start shortly after midnight. Midnight marks the end of the current fiscal year. If it occurs, it will be the first government shutdown in more than 17 years.
The President criticized House Republicans for repeated attempts to derail Obamacare as a condition of continued government funding. He insisted that the Affordable Care Act is moving forward and cannot be shut down. Referring to hardline Tea Party conservatives in the House Republican caucus, Obama said one faction of one party in "doesn't get to shut down the government."