2013 Government Shutdown

On October 1st 2013 the government shutdown in Washington D.C. and wouldn’t start up again until October 17th.

A government shutdown occurs when Congress can’t agree on a spending bill. This specific shutdown was caused by disagreement surrounding Obamacare. According to a USA Today article, the “Republican-controlled House” has passed a spending bill that “does not provide funding to implement Obamacare.” The Democratic-controlled Senate wants the act to be fully funded and to be passed as a “continuing resolution without policy changes.”

Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, is a reform aimed at improving the quality of health care for Americans. It “expands Medicaid to over 15 million uninsured low-income Americans.” It requires that all Americans have health insurance or they will have to pay an additional tax in 2014. The act was signed into law in 2010, and its reforms will continue unless it is fully repealed. Republicans are against Obamacare because of the costs surrounding it. Obamacare will add more than 500 billion dollars to debt of the United States, and the United States is already 17 trillion dollars in debt. They also believe that it will not help keep health care costs down or allow people to keep their current health insurance. Moreover, there may be a shortage of workers as ERs become more crowded and care will slow down.

The 16-day shutdown had profound effects. Furloughs, or leaves of absence, occured across the country as national parks and other federal agencies closed. These furlughed workers prevented tourist visits and decreased income in many parks. For example, Boston’s national historic sites are estimated to have lost about 55,000 visitors. As well as, the U.S.S. Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Massachusetts lost about 7,000 dollars per day. Overall, it is estimated that the shutdown cost 24 billion dollars to the economy of the United States, money being lost due to loss of government services, travel services spendings, and shut downs of national parks, according to Standard and Poor’s. The shutdown could have potentially affected citizens’ safety as well. 976 inspectors of the Food and Drug Adminstration were furloughed, and some planned inspections were put off. Secondly, “Federal officials who oversee compliance with discrimination laws and labor practices” weren’t on duty unless in the case of emergency.

On Wednesday, October 16th Congress approved President Obama’s bipartisan deal, therefore re-starting government. The Senate deal doesn’t have major significant changes to Obamacare and suspends the debt limit until February 7th.

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