Student View: Government Shutdown
Fewer than 24 hours ago, with a 285-144 vote in the House of Representatives and an overwhelming 81-18 vote in the Senate, Congress moved to end the government shutdown and passed a bill on to the President of the United States. Congress, who was already on the American people’s chopping block for 16 days, faced a decision that ended the “government standoff” that was going on in Washington D.C. between House & Senate Democrats and Republicans over the decision of funding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed, ‘Obamacare’.
The situation is known as a government shutdown, which is a situation in which the government cannot gain authorization to procure enough funds to support a government backed operation or program. When the government shut down on the final day of September for the first time since the Clinton Administration, Americans were confused; they wanted to point fingers and wanted to know whom to point them at.
The government shutdown on Sept. 30, 2013 was because Congressmen couldn’t agree on a budget for the next fiscal year, from Oct. 1-Sept. 30. The process, as many of us know by now, is that if the Senate creates a bill, then it must go through the House of Representatives, and then the President of the United States must sign the bill in order for it to pass. Though this seems like a simple process, the Senate being Democrat controlled and the House being Republican controlled, they will agree with their party morals and disagree with the other parties morals, also known as refusing to compromise. The main issue for the 2013-14 fiscal year’s budget is funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. House Republicans refused to fund it, and Senate Democrats refused to accept the budget if it was not funded.
Therefore, unless a compromise can be reached, the government shuts down, which is exactly what happened.
“Who exactly does this affect?” those not directly affected may wonder. Well, about 800,000 federal workers who won’t be paid, recipients of government funded programs such as WIC and workers at the Centers for Disease Control and beneficiaries of their work. Also animal lovers, regulars at national parks and monuments, people who want to get married in the District of Columbia and veterans who want to be compensated for disability will have to wait until the shutdown is over to apply, and now that it’s over, will we be any better off?
Taylor Kirby, a junior in the Columbia Public Schools, also claims, “I don’t think that we would do well with a state of nature. We need some form of government for regulation and restrictions. Though I doubt we’ll become more productive,” Kirby said. “I didn’t expect [this], and as for where we go from here? I don’t know– Hopefully they’ll be able to make big decisions from here on out that [put us in the right direction] though you never know.”
As for ‘Obamacare’, sophomore Jasmine White said she believes the frustration over the way the president handled the problems of uninsured Americans lead to the conflict.
She said she doesn’t “think it’s that good because Obama’s not really changing anything he’s just harming stuff.”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care act, was not decided upon, though was given funding through January 15, and the debt ceiling was raised through Feb. 7.
By Sam Mitten
What are your thoughts about the way Congress reacted to its struggle to reach a compromise? Now that the government is back up and running, and animal lovers can go back to watching zoo cams, will the government really be as productive as people have made it out to seem that they were before? Can you truly please an American people who will complain about what you’re doing when you’re in session in congress doing what you believe to be best for them, and complain when you aren’t doing anything at all?