US government has partially shut down after the two houses of Congress failed to agree to a new budget.
“They have shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job,” said Obama.
Republicans have a different view. They have sought to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, and many House Republicans refuse to vote to fund the government absent provisions eroding the law, known as Obamacare.
“The only way these problems are going to be resolved is if we sit down amicably and keep the American people in mind and come to an agreement,” said House Speaker John Boehner. He called the White House’s position “unsustainable hypocritical”.
During a government shutdown, federal workers are temporarily laid off, or furloughed, and many government programs are halted. “Essential” employees are defined as those performing duties vital to national defense, public health and safety.
National parks and Washington’s Smithsonian museums are closed, pension and veterans’ benefit cheques will be delayed. One of America’s iconic attractions, The Statue of Liberty, was seen but not touched on Tuesday.
According to the media, ” as lawmakers grappled with the latest shutdown, the 17 October deadline for extending the government’s borrowing limit looms ever larger.
On that date, the US government will reach the limit at which it can borrow money to pay its bills, the so-called debt ceiling”.
Americans seem to be losing faith in the ability of the political parties and the government to function, says analyst Charlie Cook.
Initial polling shows the American people blame Republicans ( 46%) and Democrats or President Obama (36%) for the government shutdown. Republicans want to change the perception of culpability. Democrats are banking on it continuing a resolution of the impasse on their terms.
This is the 12th shutdown since 1981. The last and longest shutdown occurred (1995-1996) under the Bill Clinton administration and spanned 21 days.
” Before the 1980s, if Congress could not pass a budget, federal employees continued operating as usual. But in 1980, Jimmy Carter’s last year as president, then-attorney general Benjamin Civiletti issued a legal opinion saying government work cannot continue until Congress agrees to fund it. Civiletti later clarified the law to mean only “essential” government services could continue without a spending bill”, analytic said.
The longer a shutdown lasts, the more it costs.
And what about the costs to Americans’ confidence in their government? If history is any indication, research organization Gallup says that may not pose much of a problem for President Barack Obama or Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
Gallup says the 1995-1996 shutdown “did little to impact” Americans’ views of President Clinton or Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in the months after the closure began. Approval ratings for Congress as a whole, the U.S. economy and the country in general also were spared.