Government shutdown impedes functioning of vital social and economic programs

Nicole Della Cava
Senior Writer

Changing the lives of over one million preschool children across the country, Head Start is one of the social programs which are left vulnerable as a result of the government shutdown. 18,795 children in twenty-three programs in Florida, Connecticut, Alabama, and Mississippi are in dire jeopardy. The government has the immediate responsibility to make sure impoverished children receive an education. While private philanthropy made generous contributions to reopen the seven programs that closed, it is not a solution and if the shutdown persists, children will fall behind in their education and parents will have to scramble for child care. In addendum to this serious result of the government shutdown, as of Tuesday, October 8th, the regional offices of Veterans will be closed due to furloughs of 7,000 employees.

The effects of the government shutdown continue to expand as the United States is already into the second week of the shutdown. It will remain closed until Congress can reach an agreement on a spending bill. Republican House majority leader, John Boehner, insists that they will not fund the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, or increase the debt ceiling. Apprehensive Republicans, as of October 1st when Obamacare became implemented, know that when each day that goes by, more people are signing up for Obamacare and it will be harder to overturn. Having already voted over forty times to rescind the Affordable Care Act since 2010, Republicans are not giving up. The debate has escalated to where Democrats insists that Obamacare be fully funded and a discharge petition to pass a “clean” CR be signed. Congress uses a stopgap continuing resolution, called a CR, that maintains spending at current levels for all or part of the year – a resolution without policy change.

The United States is on the verge of maxing out a $16.699 trillion credit limit but the President must ask Congress to raise the country’s credit limit before the deadline on October 17th. It is not rare that the President seeks to raise the debt ceiling. In fact, there have been 111 instances where the government has raised the debt ceiling since Clinton was in presidency in 1993. On Monday, October 6th President Barack Obama said that in order for the “clean” CR to pass, 217 House members must vote favorably. If the CR is passed, President Obama will continue to receive money for the next six months to one year to continue daily operations. John Boehner is demanding that a clean CR will not pass although fifty to seventy-five Republicans already vocalized their support including Lous Barletta, Peter King, Charlie Dent, Frank Wolf, Michael Grimm, Ro Wittman, and Frank Lobiondo, says MSNBC News. In addition to the 195 Democrats supporting the clean CR bill, Boehner cannot prove that the vote will not pass and he is pushing the United States into default.

Republicans are violating Democratic norms – they have to allow majority to rule. The Supreme Court supports Obamacare, the House and Senate already signed off on it; therefore, it can only go through legislative process to repeal it. The President is correct; he will not negotiate with a gun to his head because Obamacare already came into law in 2010. Are Republicans holding our country hostage? Brian Kessler, economist with Moody’s Analytics estimates that a three to four week shutdown would cost the economy about $55 billion. The affects are not static because additional programs are running out of money each day such as food banks, Arizona TANF, college sexual assault investigations, approval of new home mortgages, and CDC tracking of disease outbreaks. 21,000 national park workers have been laid off and millions of visitors are prevented from entering any of the 410 parks. Facing the fact that 800,000 government employees, viewed as non-essential might not ever get repaid is detrimental to the confidence that people have in this country. Is it fair that so many innocent Americans are faced with unemployment once again? Are we creating jobs or compounding our problem?

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