You are on page 1of 6

Tuttle 1

Marlon Tuttle Prof. Presnell Engl. 1103 31 Oct 2013 United States Government Closed Temporary! Come back later. What? Really?

What exactly is a government shutdown? I wanted to know the answer to that question since it all began on October 1st, 2013. Actually, there are more questions I had about the government shutdown. Who is really responsible for this? Did we try to stop it? Will it affect our economy? Who does it effect? How long will this go on? Has it happen before? How can they prevent it from happening again? How are other countries viewing the United States because of it? How will this be resolved? Just to name a few other questions I had. But, first let me tell you how we came about this. Background The United States Constitution requires government spending be approved in bills passed by congress. Some government functions such as the Federal Reserve System are completely self-funded. Others, like Social Security and Medicare are partially self-funded but may be subject to administrative shutdowns and failures if the government fails to meet its financial obligations. Some programs are fully or partially funded for multiple years and some are funded every year. Since the 1990s, Congress has often failed to pass the twelve to thirteen appropriation bills that set government-wide spending, often passing "Continuing resolutions" to extend existing spending law at or near current levels. Budget negotiations can be difficult when the

Tuttle 2

president is not of the party that controls one or both houses of Congress. The last budget was passed on April 29, 2009. If the Congress fails to pass budgetary approval by the end of the fiscal year, a "funding gap" results. The Antideficiency Act requires government functions not excepted by the Act to begin shutting down immediately so that the Constitutional authority of Congress over spending is not breached. Technically, seventeen federal government shutdowns precede the October 2013 shutdown. Most were partial or for single days or weekends and involved few if any furloughs. The first was in 1976. Only the shutdowns of 1995–96 involved the whole federal government and were longer than four days. ―The two shutdowns that occurred in 1995 and 1996 lasted a total of 27 days. And back then, the conditions for getting to a deal were much better. Dispute came in 1995, when Gingrich wanted to balance the budget in a short time frame and Clinton wanted money spent on Democratic priorities. After two separate shutdowns and several weeks, the pressure was too high on Republicans and they cut a deal with Clinton: he would get his priorities, but would have to balance the budget for 10 years. This time, it's not so easy for Republicans to achieve even a piece of their chief goal - to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The law is President Obama's signature policy achievement, and its constitutional authority was affirmed by the Supreme Court. Democrats in the Senate and Mr. Obama himself have proven with the shutdown fight that they are determined to keep the law intact.‖ (Kaplan, 2013) So it Begins The tensions that would ultimately produce the 2013 shutdown began to take shape after Republicans, strengthened by the emergence of the Tea Party, won back a majority of the seats in

Tuttle 3

the House of Representatives from the Democrats in 2010. Even at that time, some conservative activists and Tea Party-affiliated politicians were already calling on congressional Republicans to be willing to shut down the government in order to force congressional Democrats and President Obama to agree to deep cuts in spending and to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which had been signed into law only a few months earlier. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a Republican who had presided over Congress during the last government shutdowns 15 years earlier, said in April 2010 that if Republicans won back control of Congress in the 2010 election, they should remove any funding for the Affordable Care Act in any appropriations bills they passed. Gingrich said Republicans needed to "be ready to stand on principle" and should refuse to fund the new healthcare law even if their refusal would result in a shutdown of the government. With Congress having failed to agree by late September 2013 on the budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1, members of the Senate proposed a resolution to continue funding the government through December 2013 as a stop-gap measure, to allow more time to negotiate over final funding levels for the full fiscal year. Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and others then demanded a delay of or change to the Affordable Care Act in exchange for passing the resolution. On September 24, Cruz gave a 21-hour speech in the Senate to draw attention to his goals. The Bigger Battle behind the Shutdown David writes that the government is not all about trying to defund the Affordable Care Act, it’s about trying restrain the government. It is spending $3.6 trillion per year without a budget, and its expenses are expected to increase rapidly in the years ahead. Meanwhile, the

Tuttle 4

government has piled up $17 trillion in debt and $60 trillion more in unfunded spending promises. He says the Federal Reserve will borrow $1.1 trillion in 2013 alone to buy bonds—and it reserves the right to borrow unlimited amounts for future bond purchases without congressional or presidential permission. Big government has meant slow growth, painfully high youth and minority unemployment and falling median incomes—except in the Washington, D.C., area, which recent census data show is growing ever richer. Under current law, the federal government and Federal Reserve are in a sharp upward trajectory in their power and the riskiness of their policies. Federal domination of the economy and financial markets is only increasing. The government shutdown reflects a Republican demand for permanent new checks and balances—to restrain a government that spends wildly without a budget. I think Mr. Malpass makes a great point. This is a huge issue, and must be address. A much bigger battle behind the shutdown it is. (Malpass, 2013) Bad Shutdown While up to 800,000 federal workers faced life without a paycheck as Day One of the government shutdown kicked in, Democrats and Republicans persisted in talking past each other without actually talking to each other to end the nation's latest fiscal crisis. The Republican-led House offered its latest gambit to approve piecemeal funding for three specific programs -- the District of Columbia, veterans affairs and national parks. The votes required a two-thirds majority for passage, which would have required hefty Democratic support. That did not materialize, though House leadership aides say the plan is to bring up the same measures again in a way that would require only a simple majority to pass. Aside from conservative political calculations that calling these votes would put their ideological

Tuttle 5

foes in a tough spot, it appears they'll have little practical impact since the Democratic-led Senate wasn't about to acquiesce and the White House promised a veto. A four week shutdown could cost the economy 55 billion dollars. Not only the economy, but take a look at this link http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2013/09/politics/government-shutdown-impact/ and see the different programs effected by the shutdown. Good Shutdown Furloughed federal workers were getting sympathy specials from around the region, with some promising the deals until the shutdown ends. For Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Va., where government workers can pick up complimentary New Orleans-style beignets, the special has been a win-win: People are off work and getting free food, and the restaurant is attracting new customers. Antonio Manalus, from Connecticut, wanted to see the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum on his trip to the nation's capital. Instead, he ended up at the privately owned International Spy Museum. "This place must be doing some good business," he says while perusing the gift shop. He's also planning to visit Madame Tussauds, the wax museum a few blocks away, even though that wasn't on his original wish list. (Siner, 2013) Open for Business On October 16th, 2013 congressional leaders struck a deal to end the government shutdown. The measure also raises the debt limit, gives back pay to furloughed federal workers and just barely touches Obamacare. Many Republicans criticized the bill, with Ted Cruz calling it a "terrible deal" and Kentucky's Thomas Massie describing it as a "goose egg" for their party. The GOP party lost fight by a landslide. How? Pressure from the American people, the people of

Tuttle 6

this country voiced their opinion. But, the aggressive tea party is already gearing up for a sequel on February 7th. Effects Much attention has been paid to what effect the shutdown fallout has had on Republicans. It’s not hard to see congressional approval rating dropping to all new lows, a Republican brand tumbling ever lower, and national house ballot polling that should worry Republicans at least a little ahead of next year’s midterms. Little, though, has been said about how the shutdown has affected President Obama’s brand. At first glance, the President seemed to emerge from the shutdown unscathed. But, that wasn’t the case for the first time ever President Obama approval rating 48.7% of Americans hold an unfavorable view of the President, while 47.7% hold a favorable view. This shutdown was highly unnecessarily, it cost the economy 80 billion dollars. Maybe one day the government will learn to work together, before a huge crisis comes about. I blame both sides. Do you?