US government has shutdown
Many people furloughed of their jobs until further notice
Article: Alec Salloum – News Writer
A shutdown of the United States Federal government began on Oct. 1 in response to contention over the 2014 fiscal year’s budget. The discord largely stems from a disagreement over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as “ObamaCare”. Government shutdowns have occurred in the past, most recently in 1996. Eighteen shutdowns have occurred since 1976, the longest shutdown lasted twenty days in 1996.
The proposed massive overhaul to the American healthcare system has been met with hostility from Republicans, which resulted in several Republican congress members refusing to vote on the night of the budget. On the day of the shutdown, President Obama said “one faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government all because they didn’t like one law.”
The PPACA was the main issue that brought the government to a close. The Republican Party, often referred to as the Good Old Party (GOP), sought to defund the healthcare reforms entirely. The PPACA has been one of the Obama administrations flagship accomplishments. On the day of the shutdown, Obama had this to say, “They’ve [The Republican Party] shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health care to millions of Americans”.
The US fiscal year is Sep. 30 to Oct. 1. Each new year requires congress to approve appropriation bills, which fund various agencies of the Federal government for an annual or interim basis. The passing of these bills authorizes the agencies to spend money that fiscal year. The problem is, none of these bills have been passed.
As a result, a joint resolution known as a Continuing Resolution (CR) was introduced on Sep. 10. The CR would temporarily fund the government while Congress deliberated and agreed on the year’s budget. On Sep. 20, the CR and its provision were not agreed upon, meaning that no money could be allocated to agencies initiating an inevitable shutdown, as stated under the Antideficiency Act. As a result many Federal employees have been furloughed and several programs have been suspended until the budget is passed.
[pullquote]“They’ve [The Republican Party] shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health care to millions of Americans”. [/pullquote]
Approximately 800,000 Federal employees have been deemed “non-essential”, meaning this work force of Americans are not working, and may be shortchanged on certain benefits. The workers also will not receive payment after Oct. 10, with no certain date for their next paycheck, forcing some to find new jobs or take loans. However, on Oct. 5 the House approved, 407 to zero, that furloughed employees would receive back pay when the shutdown has been resolved.
The shutdown does mean that several agencies are closed which provide vital functions to Americans and their economy. The shutdown has affected the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 368 national parks, museums and monuments, veteran services, visa and passport services as well as Federal contracts. The affects of closure has resulted in an approximate loss of $1.6 billion during the first week. Now entering its second week losses average $160 million per day. This loss of funds is causing fear over a potential default and has prompted Obama’s Democrats to seek a higher debt ceiling. This would allow greater borrowing capacity for the government, another point of contention for Republicans.
As of Oct. 12, discussions between Democratic and Republican house members have begun. However, both sides seem deadlocked in their aims and the polarized sides are still unable to reach an agreement.