800,000 people are expected to lose their paychecks and the shutdown could potentially cost the nation a billion dollars a week.
Congress has one primary function in the government, which is to authorize spending bills. Money simply cannot be spent by the federal government without being given permission by the legislative branch.
|Darkness looming over the Capitol.|
The main issue of contention currently is that there is disagreement over The Affordable Care Act. Congressional Republicans want the program defunded (some of them want it completely obliterated), and the Democrats refuse, and all spending bills have essentially been held hostage because of debate over a law that isn't even at issue. The ACA was passed in 2010 and the constitutionality of most it was upheld in 2012. The largest provisions of it were delayed until today, and ironically they will take effect today even though Congress has arrested all other spending bills, because the funding under the law is not contingent on annual spending bills. Insurance exchanges nationwide opened today.
So, yes....this fight is simply a pissing match over an already settled law. Or a temper tantrum. Or whatever.
Effectively, this means that the flow of money stopped as of midnight for all federally funded programs, with the exception of those deemed necessary either because of public safety, have independent funding sources or because they are covered by some special protection. Anyone deemed non-essential is not permitted to work, and not even allowed to volunteer to work without pay. Most agencies are affected.
I could list which agencies are affected and how, but there are so many to list. CNN has compiled a list of them, and how they are affected. It is important to point out that employees of agencies who are still being required to work, such as active duty military, may not receive paychecks if the shutdown lasts longer than a week. Half of the civilian military contractors are immediately furloughed. SNAP continues, WIC federal funding ceases and will depend on state administration. Federal school lunch funding is expected to last through the month. All National Parks are closed immediately. D.C. relies heavily on funding for even the most basic functions, and during the last shutdown citizens living there didn't even have their trash picked up. Again, I could list everything, but it's a long list. Please click the link for more information.
It is important to point out that those elected to Congress will still receive their paychecks during this process, as they are protected under the 27th Amendment.
Their paychecks are protected, but those at their mercy cannot be guaranteed that they will be able to put food on the table next week.
Come on Congress. Do your job. We can't even stop paying you. High five, Uncle Sam.
I asked my fans to share their stories of how this will affect them directly.
The government shut down has furloughed both my dad and stepdad. I hate to think of the monetary issues that both of them (and their respective spouses/families) will suffer. I think the larger issue here is the one that affects us all. We, the people, have pretty much lost all faith in the democratic process. We have lost faith that those who we have elected into office will fight for the people instead of their party. In all honesty, I feel like we have a lot of self blaming to do here. I don't remember a time, but I remember reading of times when people were so patriotic and proud of their country and grateful for the opportunity to have a say, that they took it very seriously. The world I know now cares more about what celebrities are doing in Hollywood than what lawmakers are doing in their respective states and in Washington. It's sad to me. I may be alone here, but I don't mind that Congress continues to get paid during a shut down....as long as they are working. Crossing their arms, stamping their feet, and preemptively saying "NO" to any legislation that they don't like is NOT working. That, I do have issue with. I feel it's time to stop beating a dead horse. A horse that has died 44 times already: once with the reelection of a President who's platform was almost entirely comprised of the issue at hand, and 43 other times in the House and Senate. There is a time to fight for things and there is a time to accept your losses. The time for the latter is now. Otherwise, my two dads and several other people across the nation have to find out how to sacrifice more than they already do, in order to make compromise for the shoddy partisan power plays going on before us. It is my sincere hope that those who find themselves not making a paycheck today can trudge on, put one foot in front of the other, and to eliminate hate from their hearts while they do. It doesn't solve the problem and will only make them miserable. I'm talking you, Dads. I love you, you'll figure it out. I'm happy to help where I can. Washington may not care about you right now, but I do. I hope everyone affected has someone who does. - Razorblade Brain
We survived fulough, if you call surviving robbing peter to pay paul and coming out so far behind that you can't catch up before Christmas. Yesterday we took out a loan to consolidate. Luckily, we qualified for extra we can sit on in reserve until pay kicks back in. My husband is deemed essential, so he's working without pay right now. The old hands say this happened a lot during Clinton's administration and once all was said and done they did get their back pay. And his car just broke down. He has to take leave--unpaid because of the shut down--until we get it fixed or the girls and I have to stay at home with no transportation (not even public or anything in walking distance). Oh, yeah. And my military wife friends cannot stop bitching about the commissary and how this personally inconveniences them. We're the lucky ones. - Anonymous