Government Shutdown: Congress Misses Deadline, Obama TweetsBy: Erika Watts - October 1, 2013
Another year, another threat of government shutdown–only this time, it happened. After Democrats and Republicans in Congress made the new budget dependent on whether Obamacare remained funded, the October 1 deadline at midnight was missed, and the shutdown is in process.
Office of Management and Budget director Sylvia Burwell said earlier this evening that there was no “clear indication” that Congress would reach an agreement. “Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations,” she said. “We urge Congress to act quickly…to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.”
The Senate and the House of Representatives have both had multiple chances to avoid the shutdown. The Republican-controlled House worked over the weekend and passed a resolution on Sunday morning that would postpone forcing people to purchase health insurance for a year. The Senate voted 54-46 to reject the resolution on Monday.
Both sides are passing blame and are accusing the other of essentially holding the government hostage. Democrats are pointing fingers at Republicans for insisting that Obamacare be defunded, while Republicans are accusing President Obama and Democrats of not being open to compromise.
“One faction in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to refight the results of an election,” Obama said as the deadline approached. “You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job.” House Speaker John Boehner said that he spoke to the president on Monday night, but that Obama’s stance was, “I’m not going to negotiate. I’m not going to negotiate.”
The president’s Twitter page included a series of tweets on the shutdown just minutes after midnight.
The big question, of course, is what effect will Congress’s lack of being able to reach an agreement have on the people?
The good news is that a government shutdown doesn’t mean that all government programs are halted. The bad news is that a lot of government workers will be furloughed until the folks in Washington D.C. can get things straightened out.
According to the L.A. Times, there are three major groups that won’t be affected. The first group includes programs such as Social Security and Medicare. The second group includes groups that are “necessary to protect life or property,” such as law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies. The final group that will remain open, at least temporarily, are those that have other sources of income, such as courts.
Close to a million government employees will be furloughed, which means they will be out of work with no pay until the government shutdown is over. This includes those who work for national parks, federal museums and IRS call centers. Department of Health and Human Services has said it will furlough 52 percent its employees if there’s a shutdown. Military personnel will remain active, but won’t get paid until Congress makes the funds available.
Despite the finger pointing between members of Congress, it looks like a lot of people, regardless of whether they identify as Republican, Democrat or otherwise, are uniting against the politicians for being unable to do their jobs, so maybe something positive will come from the current mess.
What do you think about the government shutdown? Respond below.