The Breeze

Government Shutdown- What you need to know

Kathrine Esten, Journalist

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Our government is made to protect the citizens of the United States, and that is the thesis of our belief.  But recently, you may have heard of a government shutdown.  What is this?  Is it new?  Here are a few Q&A’s to help you figure this out.

Why did the shutdown happen?

Congress has one key duty according to the Constitution- passing bills about government spending.  Unfortunately, the Congress has had a disagreement over spending and a resolution could not be reached, so all unnecessary parts of federal spending were cut.

Why did they need to have a new bill by now?

The fiscal year goes from October 1 to September 30. 

So why didn’t anything happen?

Republicans are using Obama-care as a bargaining chip: they will accept new bills if money is taken away from Obama-care by de-funding it, derailing it, or just chipping it away. The Democrats are adamantly against this, thus causing a stalemate.

What happened over this weekend?

The Republican dominated House sent a new bill that involves postponing Obama-care for a year, but Democrats refused to accept it, claiming it to be a deal breaker.

Has this happened before?

Yes, the last one was in 1995, it lasted 21 days, into 1996. 

What happens to government workers?

3.3 million workers are still in their offices, deemed essential. But more than 80,000 workers are sitting at home, not able to work until the government shutdown is over.

How will this effect the economy?

Depends on how long it lasts. If it lasts 3-4 weeks, it could be up to 55 billion dollars. 

How will this affect me?

The mail will continue to come, military will still fight, and Social Security checks will still come.  But if you need a federal loan to buy a house, a gun permit, or a passport, you will have to wait.

Will the President still get paid?

Yes. His 400,000 dollar salary is considered mandatory spending.  The House and Senate members will also continue being paid. 

Does this have anything to do with the debt ceiling?

That is the next big issue occurring. This will be dealt with starting October 17. 

Can Congress agree on anything?

They did agree to keep the military going during the shutdown. 

Anything else?

All national parks are closed as well, including their websites. Many are upset by this as people planned trips that are now useless where they cannot visit national monuments. 

This government shutdown has now run one week…..comment your opinions below. Who is to blame? Republicans? Democrats? The President? All of the above?


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Government Shutdown- What you need to know