The inability of Democrats and Republicans to agree on anything is once again dragging the United States government towards a cliff. This time, the argument could lead the government to shut down indefinitely. Here we go again.
Typically, Congress is supposed to pass a budget for government agency operations. But, for many years, Congress has been so divided that instead of passing a budget, they could only pass a short term stop-gap funding measure called Continuous Resolution (CR). The current Continuous Resolution, which expires on September 30th, is in jeopardy of not making it through Congress. This is because Republicans in Congress are adamant that the only way they will approve the new Continuous Resolution is if Obamacare is defunded. The most fervent supporters of this measure are the Republican representatives that are backed by the Tea Party movement. Obamacare is the name that has been given to the Healthcare bill passed by Congress under President Obama’s first term. The first parts of the law will be enacted in October and the bill will be fully implemented in January 2014.
On the other hand, President Obama and the Democrats have stated that they will not agree to defund Obamacare. Thus, we’re slowly approaching September 30 and both sides are not caving in. The House of Representatives, where the Republicans are in majority, passed a bill that renews the CR but demands reducing funding to Obamacare and repeal a medical device tax. However, the Senate, where the Democrats are in majority, rejected this bill.
If September 30th passes without a deal between the two sides, the government will effectively shut down. A shut down won’t effect mandatory government payments such as Medicaid and Medicare, but it will put a vise on discretionary spending. That means that national parks and Smithsonian museums would close, pensions and
veterans’ benefits checks would be delayed, visa and passport applications would be delayed, and as many as 2.1 million public employees could temporarily be out of their jobs. A brief government shutdown occurred in late 1995 and it cost the government more than $1 billion.
The Video of the Week comes from Ted Cruz, a Republican Senator, who spoke on the Senate floor on Friday for roughly 21 hours in order to hold up delay voting on the bill approved by the House so as to make the Senate more desperate to accept it. In that 21 hours, Ted Cruz referenced Star Wars, tried to speak like Darth Vader, compared Obamacare to Nazi Germany, read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, talked about Whitecastle hamburgers. The most ironic part is that Green Eggs and Ham is a story about how people may not like things they haven’t tried but once they try it, they find out that they in fact like it. That may be the worst story to read to oppose Obamacare. The clip I’ve shared is just a short snippet of that speech. You can find longer versions on Yotube. So sit back and enjoy the hilarity that ensues.
It seems that as of yesterday, Republicans and Democrats agreed to a deal where Obamacare would be delayed for a year and in return, Republicans would allow the CR to pass. We’ll probably have to wait for the final hours of Monday to see what kind of deal is struck. As usual, we can expect the US Congress to never do their best, to try their softest, and to disregard the well being of the rest of the nation. Typical politics.
If you’re still concerned regarding this issue, you can take a look at this link from the Telegraph which answers most frequently asked questions about the impending government shutdown.
“immediately on hearing that phrase [rebellion against oppression] I wondered if at some point we were going to see a tall gentlemen in a mechanical breathing apparatus come forward and say in deep voice ‘Mike Lee, I am your father.'”
-Senator Ted Cruz