The Shutdown: For how long?
October 02, 2013 12:12 AM | 1651 views | 4 4 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees have gone on unpaid furlough starting Tuesday — victims of America’s 18th partial government shutdown.

These furloughs result when Congress fails to appropriate money to operate the federal bureaucracy or fails to pass a continuing resolution to maintain past appropriations. It was the failure to reach a deal between the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate for a continuing resolution this week that caused the current shutdown.

The Office of Personnel Management has put out this directive to the bureaucracy:

“In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not excepted by law. Typically, an agency will have very little to no lead time to plan and implement a shutdown furlough.”

No one is quite certain of the exact number, but more than 800,000 workers went home Tuesday after reporting briefly — for a period of no more than four hours — to do the business of shutting down much of the machinery of government.

All national parks have closed, including Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area that are so popular with local residents. Americans who turn 65 this week cannot apply for Social Security or Medicare benefits. No one can ask for new Small Business Administration loans, complete an Internal Revenue Service audit or verify if a prospective employee is in the United States legally.

Even the hugely popular Internet “panda cam” at the National Zoo has gone dark.

How long will this last?

The first partial shutdown in modern times occurred in 1976, when President Gerald Ford vetoed the funding bills for the departments of Labor and Health, Education and Welfare, prompting those departments to close for 10 days.

The longest partial shutdown was the last, a 21-day period from Dec. 16, 1995, through Jan. 6, 1996. That was prompted by a squabble between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress over whose timetable should be used to craft a federal budget. The two sides compromised.

It’s anyone’s guess, of course, how long the current spat will continue on whether the government should be shut down because many Republicans want a delay in implementing part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Ironically, Americans are able to sign up for health insurance this week under Obamacare because the Department of Health and Human Services set up a contingency plan of sorts to staff the program.

However, the uneven implementation of that law, and its continuing unpopularity, mean there continues to be a good chance that it can be done away with, or at least substantially improved. Obamacare took another step forward on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean the debate about it is any closer to an end.

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Aggravated34
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October 03, 2013
As far as I'm concerned both parties are acting like petulant children (this includes President Obama). Republicans and Democrats should be focused on the budget. How long have we now gone without a budget...the answer seems to be just raise the debt ceiling. Neither party wants to compromise. It's about ego and ego alone. It's sad and pathetic. Do I agree with the Affordable Health Care Act? No. However that does not mean there are not good parts to it. The Republicans are not going to get what the want with this stalemate. It just makes them look horrible. Forget about winning the next Presidential election - they are losing it for the candidate today in this moment. Where are all the moderates (on both sides). Does no one have any common sense?
Good law for all!
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October 03, 2013
Obama Care is the law of the land. Let it stand. The Tea Party is holding the nation hostage by instigating the shut down. The Affordable care Act (“Obamacare”) passed both House of Congress and was signed into law by the President, as required by the Constitution. When it was challenged as unconstitutional, it was upheld in a decision written by a Chief Justice appointed by Republican President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by every Republican Senator (55-0).
anonymous
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October 03, 2013
All of this government shutdown is because of the ObamaCare Law that recently came into effect.

The core problem is that some people do not have a huge problem with universal healthcare per se but do and justly so have a problem paying for their own health coverage AND paying for someone else's health coverage under duress because they supposedly are too poor to pay for it on their own.

Solution: pay for your own Obamacare and not be taxed at gunpoint to pay for someone else's.

Let all of the Obama voters pay for the poor's ObamaCare from their personal funds.



rjsnh
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October 02, 2013
The far right wing of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, represented by any number of Georgia Congressmen, several right here, and I mean far right here, in Cobb County, bare no resemblance to the GOP of Eisenhower. They have become extremists, not patriots, not statesmen, not leaders. Their appeal is to the worst within who they supposedly represent, not the best. On the very the same day these right wingers shut down the government, Democrats expanded health care for millions of Americans. The lesson here is that who we vote for matters.
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