Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press MCT

Government still shut down

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press MCT

Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press MCT

Combative politics took over Congress this past weekend as the House of Representatives and the Senate bounced back bills regarding the annual budget. A deadline set for Monday at midnight, when the fiscal year ended, was not met, and the government officially shut down, putting over 800,000 federal government workers that are not imperative to everyday functions on a temporary furlough without pay.
The Republican-led House of Representatives passed bills to the Senate that approved a budget, yet held large cutbacks for the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare. The Democratic-led Senate rejected every bill as Obamacare already passed both houses of Congress, was signed by President Obama, and was upheld in the Supreme Court as constitutional.
President Obama went before the nation to urge Congress to work together and make a last-minute resolution. In his address, the President scolded Congress, “You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway, or just because there’s a law there that you don’t like. The American people sent us here to govern.”
Upon midnight and the shutting down of the government, Obama announced that military personnel will continue to be paid, but all national parks and museums will be closed. Paychecks now have a risk of coming in late for those workers. In the hours following the shut down, Senate Democrats and the House Republicans voted numerous times, with no compromise from either side.
Dr. Travis Taylor, an associate economics professor at Christopher Newport University, said that in this debate, Congress is “playing politics with people’s lives.” Taylor also said that Virginia, and the Hampton Roads area in particular, will take a much larger hit than others. “The concern would be that estimates show that approximately 45% of the Hampton Roads economy is either directly or indirectly tied to defense spending, and most of that defense spending is from the Federal Government.” A temporary reduction would not be devastating, but families based on the federal defense funding would be left out of work and without paychecks until the matter is resolved in Congress. This in turn, harms business based on disposable spending, for example, restaurants and services.
Dr. Robert Winder, also an economics professor at CNU, said the effect of this is that it “increases the perceived risk to the economy” and that “people are losing confidence that…our federal government can solve problems.” Winder described how although this isn’t a cataclysmic shutdown, it has indirect effects on the economy.
Professor Harry Greenlee, an associate government professor at CNU, looks to the future, nervous for our generation. “Unfortunately I think…we’re really creating some serious problems for the younger generation,” he said. He believes the length of this furlough is “going to depend upon the response of the American people” and stresses activism. “College students need to be abreast of what’s happening.”
In his statement on a short-term Continuing Resolution which would delay Obamacare, Hampton Roads Congressman Bobby Scott said Monday “It is essential that Members of Congress, both Democratic and Republican, work together to pass a clean Continuing Resolution without unrelated issues.” Virginia Senator Mark Warner issued a statement Monday following the Senate’s vote on an interim spending proposal, saying “This is not a responsible way to conduct our nation’s business. It threatens the economic recovery.”
A recent CNN poll found that only 10% of Americans approve of Congress’s performance, an all time low in a CNN poll.
This is the first government shut down in 18 years.  As of press time Tuesday afternoon, the length of the shut down is to be determined. A three to four week shut down could cost the economy $55 billion, reported CNN on Tuesday.