This morning we celebrated the beginning of October with a brand-new government shutdown, so coined “The Government Shutdown of 2013.”
Shutdowns tend to happen when the United States president and congress are controlled by different political parties and are unable to reach budget agreements.
According to Wikipedia:
“Shutdowns of the type experienced by the United States are nearly impossible in other industrialized nations. Under the parliamentary system utilized in most European nations, the executive and legislative branch are controlled by the same party or coalition, and a breakdown in communication between the two branches triggers the orderly collapse of the government and a new round of elections. In non-parliamentary democracies, a strong executive branch typically has the authority to keep the government functioning even without an approved budget. This was the case in the United States up until 1980, when the administration of Jimmy Carter interpreted the 1884 Antideficiency Act to limit the power of federal agencies in the lack of congressional approval.”
On October 1, 2013, the federal services deemed “non-essential” by this Antideficiency Act will become suspended.
Here’s a small list of a few of these “non-essential” services:
The National Weather Service, the armed forces, air traffic control, the Smithsonian Institution museums, Small Business Administration, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NASA, IRS, EPA, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Department of Justice (work on civil litigation will stop), Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior (all 401 units of the National Park Service will be closed), Department of Education—and this is not a complete list.
The employees of these departments and others are furloughed, or forced into unpaid leave.
This is all due to the government not passing a funding bill because of disagreements surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
The “fault” of this shut down will largely depend on your political standing. Some will, of course, choose to fault the president and the healthcare act, while others will fault the Republican-controlled Congress.
A CNN poll shows that, indeed, the Republicans will bear the majority of the blame.
“The CNN poll is similar to a CBS News/New York Times survey released late last week that indicated 44% blaming congressional Republicans and 35% pointing fingers at the president. Two other polls conducted in the past week and a half, from Pew Research Center and United Technologies/National Journal, showed a much closer margin but their questions mentioned Republicans in general rather than the GOP in Congress.”
Regardless of where you stand in the blame-game or which side you prefer when it comes to healthcare, let’s all agree to consider those most strongly affected by this government shutdown—average citizens like us.
Click here to see NPR’s “A Guide to What Would and Wouldn’t Close.”
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Ed: Sara Crolick