As of Oct. 1, Republicans and Democrats in the House could not agree on a spending plan for the fiscal year, resulting in the shutdown of the U.S. government.
Congress has one key duty in the Constitution which is to pass spending bills to fund the government. If it does not, most functions of government could come to a halt.
In this situation, Republicans in the House were insistent upon any new spending bill to include provisions to defund or derail the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
Meghan Leonard, assistant professor in the Department of Politics and Government, discussed some of the long term and short term implications of the shutdown.
“It sort of depends on your station in life. There is a wide swath of people who it won’t have an effect on their day-to-day life,” Leonard said. “Other programs like federal funding for research are problematic especially for programs like the Center for Disease Control. Lots of their systems are shut down.”
When the shutdown went into effect, about 800,000 federal employees were sent home or furloughed.
Furlough means a temporary unpaid leave for employees during certain economic conditions. Some of the institutions where employees were furloughed include national parks and national monuments.
On Saturday the House unanimously approved legislation to provide retroactive pay for furloughed federal workers after the government shutdown ends.
As for the U.S. economy, economists with Moody’s Analytics estimated a three to four week shutdown could cost the economy about $55 billion.
“The upcoming deadline for raising the debt ceiling on Oct. 17 is more sort of looming and would have a more significant effect on the market and the global markets if we can’t pay our bills,” Leonard said.
The shutdown went into effect during this point in the calendar year because the government’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
“John Boehner will have to give in and agree on a budget because there’s already enough people in the House who would vote yes to passing the budget,” Mallie Feltner, senior political science major, said.
“The House may be the purse of the government, but they can’t shut down the government just because they didn’t like the law that was passed.”
The U.S. government shutdown in 1995 for 21 days, going into 1996.
The government now is still shutdown and no resolution has been conceived. President Obama has provided an option to talk about tweaking Obamacare as soon as the House reopens the government.
At the same time, Speaker of the House Boehner has said his chamber would not pass a measure to raise the limit without an Obamacare-related provision.