Shutdown Showdown: 7 things you need to know

7

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

The clock struck midnight in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, October 1, and the United States Federal government experienced a federal shutdown, a first in over eighteen years.  Many backbone government services are suspended for the time being, which will inevitably be a critical hit to many federal-income families. Economists and other political experts are estimating that the government will be back opened by Friday Oct 11, by the latest, but really, no one knows. Whatever your own political opinion may be, here’s a synopsis of the 10 indisputable truths that basically sums up this week’s shutdown-showdown.

1. About 800,000 federal civilian workers were sent home Tuesday, unpaid and furloughed.

The government shutdown means an estimated 41% of federal employees are furloughed. From museum workers to national parks to FDA food inspectors, civilian employees are on temporary leave without pay.

Below is a link to the services that are closed or suspended until congressional leaders can come to an agreement on a continuing resolution (CR).

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2013/09/politics/government-shutdown-impact/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

2. It’s ridiculous that we’re still debating Obamacare.

The Urban Institute calculated in 2008 that some 27,000 Americans between the ages of 25 and 65 die prematurely each year because they don’t have health insurance. And besides, the bill on the Affordable Care Act has been sent and passed….in early 2010. Numerous conventions and legislative meetings have convened since its approval, and even the Supreme Court has deemed it constitutional. There’s been an entire midterm and a presidential election since the bill was approved, leaving much time for debate and negotiation. Congress has to stop wasting meetings debating on what’s already been approved and in effect.

 

3. House of Representatives? More like House of Republicans.

The House of Representatives is heavily Republican controlled. Republicans have been the obstructionists since they took control of the House in the 2010 elections, voting to delay all bills towards setting budgets until Obamacare is delayed.

 

4. The Republican party itself is extremely divided.

The Republican party has no moderacy: you’re either right winged or extremely right winged, bordering tea partiers. There is no moderate section of the Republican party. Though both sides want to cut federal spending, the tea party believes that defunding the president’s signature health care policy and slashing deficit spending are causes worth staking a political career on. They claim that that’s what their constituents elected them to do.

5. The Republicans are putting the blame on the fact that Obama and the Democrats are refusing to negotiate a bipartisan approach.

Republicans should know better than to attempt blackmail on the US Senate and the Presidency to get their way. But it’s no longer necessary to negotiate or compromise on this. That’s what the budget negotiations in 2010 were for, when the bill was first passed. Debate on what goes in the bill and whether it is passed or not occurs when the bill was negotiated 3 years ago. We’ve had this discussion before, on numerous occasions, and  the GOP’s cannot relitigate these discussions when it comes time to debate budgets. the Democrats have already negotiated a cut of $70 billion dollars from their original request. If that’s not negotiating, then what is?

6. Congressmen are still getting paid….while some federal civilian employees have to work without knowing when their next paycheck is.

Members of Congress will have no such dilemma about the future of their own finances this week because the 27th Amendment to the Constitution specifically stipulates that the salaries of the House and Senate cannot change until a congressional election has come and gone. Members of both chambers currently make $174,000.

To be fair, some have refused their pay (including ten Californian lawmakers! Represent!)  or even have gone as far as donating their salaries to good causes, as they should. However, only a total of 121 lawmakers so far have expressed their intentions to donate or refuse compensation.  Those with jobs relate to national security— like military personnel—will still have to report to work, as will those who perform essential services like air traffic control, border patrol, law enforcement, banking oversight, and disaster assistance. But their paychecks for work during the shutdown may be delayed until the government is back up and running.

7. It’s not just about Obamacare.

There’s a greater problem at hand, and its fast-approaching, one that is even greater in magnitude than the Affordable Care Act. Debates on the debt ceiling are inevitably looming, bound to create havoc in Congress yet again. House Republicans also vow to oppose an increase in the debt ceiling unless Mr. Obama delays the health care law. It seems like it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for the Democrats, as the ransom notes just keep playing in the Republican’s favor.

Yujin Chong
When Yujin's not experiencing senioritis, she's writing for the Oracle. She's fond of online shopping, traveling, teaching multiculturalism, sipping herbal teas, and daydreaming.
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7 Comments

  1. No offense to anybody on oracle but why are the articles always so liberally biased? Nobody even makes an attempt to stay even somewhat unbiased. You would NEVER see a conservative article in the Oracle because it would get shot down. The few independent, libertarian, and republicans at our school all feel like out casts and are afraid to chime in on political conversations because everybody will hate on them for having a different opinion. The information is also always based on either no facts or statistics that were taken in a inaccurate way.

    • I believe you are unfairly underestimating the Oracle, you cannot claim that “you would NEVER see a conservative article in the Oracle because it would get shot down,” when you also say that you and others who hold the minority political opinion at our school are too scared to “chime in.” By abstaining to contribute you are not giving the Oracle a chance to even prove their diverse coverage of EVERYONE’s opinion. So therefor you cannot claim that it’s Oracle’s highly liberal population that is the reason for the under representation of the conservative opinion, it is those who aren’t giving us the opinion to publish. I assure you the Oracle tries to let everyone’s voice to be heard, however that can only be possible if those with unpopular opinions allow us to hear them.

  2. the Obama administration decides to unnecessarily shut down federal land (ex: the cliff house in san francisco, a private business running on federal land, a business that doesn’t need federal funding) “because of the republicans” so explain this one to me everyone!

  3. there are so many things wrong with this…

    1) it’s absolutely crazy to say that there are no moderate republicans. there are, but they just don’t get news coverage because hard-liners are much easier to sensationalize. are all liberals radical, bordering socialist? don’t think so. unfair to say.

    2) republicans have been obstructionists? no, they’re merely trying to push back against something they believe is wrong. republicans might call fighting against obamacare “standing up for the right thing,” the same thing you would call a liberal cause, like marriage rights.

    3) the debate over obamacare isn’t about to whom healthcare is provided to, it’s about the money involved. some people have lowered premiums, some people have increased premiums; the ones who have it increased are angry, and that’s who the republicans are representing as a whole.

    4) These aren’t seven things you need to know – #2,3,4,5 are all quite biased and come off as uninformed (#5 less so than the others).

    oh, and im ridiculously liberal, this isn’t an angry rant…

    • 1. How would you define moderate republicanism? The ideal moderate GOP would vote for a clean, no-strings-attached CR, and blocking any piecemeal spending bills from coming up. Politics today, however, seems to define moderate republicanism as the least conservative part of the Republican party. However, the reality is, Republicans have moved way more right of center over time (not to mention their gerrymandering game).
      2. The bill is law, whether the GOP likes it or not. Its been passed, approved, and undergoing execution. The 41 times of unsuccessful repeal is proof enough–to shut down the government after not getting what they want is obstruction, if not immaturity.
      3. I’m not really sure why you brought this point up; I don’t think I’ve said anything of the contrary.
      4. It’s an opinions article on an opinions page; it’s supposed to be biased. People should know why the shutdown is angering progressive liberals because its pivotal background knowledge for the full understanding of the issue.

  4. Genius. Give it up to Oracle writers to come up with truthful articles that fully inform the public!