How people are being hurt by the government shutdown
Cyril Josh Barker | 10/10/2013, 4:40 p.m.
Not since 1996 has the nation seen a government shutdown, and that one lasted 21 days. Since Oct. 1, the nation has seen a furlough of over 800,000 federal workers as a result of Congress not enacting regular appropriations or a continuing resolution for the 2014 fiscal year.
Services ranging from National Parks to Head Start programs are being affected due to the furloughs. The shutdown started when the Republican-led House of Representatives offered a continuing resolution with language delaying or defunding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” took effect on Oct. 1.
A poll released this week reveals that Americas are not happy with the way Republicans are handling the situation and blame them. According to an ABC News and Washington Post poll, seven in 10 adults point the finger to the Republicans for the mess, half don’t approve with the way President Barack Obama is handling it and 61 percent believe Democrats are not doing a good job at handling the situation.
At a press conference with Republican leaders on Tuesday, Rep. John Boehner once again pressed Obama and Senate Democrats to come to the table and work with Republicans to find a path forward on government funding, the debt limit and protecting all Americans from Obamacare.
“You know, Americans expect us to work out our differences,” Boehner said. “But refusing to negotiate is an untenable position. And frankly, by refusing to negotiate, Harry Reid and the president are putting our country on a pretty dangerous path.”
Another factor coming into play is the debt ceiling. Republicans are reportedly skeptical about the chaos Obama is waring of if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.
On Tuesday, the president telephoned Boehner from the Oval Office and repeated what he told him when they met at the White House last week. Obama is willing to negotiate with Republicans—after the threat of government shutdown and default have been removed—over policies that Republicans think would strengthen the country.
Obama also repeated his willingness to negotiate on priorities that he has identified, including policies that expand economic opportunity, support private sector job creation, enhance the competitiveness of American businesses, strengthen the Affordable Care Act and continue to reduce the nation’s deficit.
“I think the American people simply want government to work. And there’s no reason that there has to be a shutdown in order for the kinds of negotiations Speaker Boehner says he wants to proceed. Hold a vote. Call a vote right now,” Obama said.
House Democrats sent a letter to Boehner this week demanding a vote on a piece of legislation that would end the shutdown and fund the government. A vote on the legislation would open the entire federal government immediately.
“By refusing to open the government, House Republicans continue to take our nation on their dangerous, ideological path that’s threatening job growth, leaving families with less security and our country with less certainty and stability,” said Rep. Charlie Rangel. “Our message is clear: We demand a vote to end the shutdown and reopen our entire government so Americans can move on with their lives.”