Recapping the government shutdown after one week of Capitol Hill drama
The federal government is shutting down and CNN reports 783,000 government employees are now on furlough, yet Republicans in office, who are leading the chaos, continue to work and receive their regular pay.
Oct. 1, the day the shutdown began, saw the launch of the Affordable Care Act, which aimed to give all United States citizens better health care coverage. The highlights of the ACA: A company cannot deny or charge a client more money because of pre-existing medical issues, and insurance is now more affordable for those not already insured.
Republicans disagreed with this plan mainly because it will likely increase U.S. debt. They’re questioning how this inexpensive health care program will be paid for. Republicans also dislike that “Obamacare” forces all citizens to have health care.
If, by the end of the year, an individual is not enrolled in an insurance plan, there will be a fine added to their income taxes starting at $99 for the first year and gradually raising in the following years until they gain coverage. However, economist Dean Baker believes “when people understand that Obamacare is first and foremost about getting health insurance, they are going to like it.”
As for the shutdown itself, “the last time the federal government shut down, starting on Dec. 15, 1995, it lasted for 21 days,” according to Michael McCutcheon, editor of PolicyMic. Our economy is not in a place where everyday working citizens can afford to go 21 days without pay. Some individuals may find it difficult to go a week without pay, seeing that they may already suffer from financial problems. Some individuals may come face to face with losing their homes and cars if this shutdown lasts for more than a week or two.
This isn’t even speaking of the effects the shutdown will have on individuals who work for the government and may be forced to drop out of school because they can no longer afford it, or individuals who are unable to take care of elderly family members due to a lack of income.
It has been 17 years since the last shutdown. The government has spit in the faces of the U.S. people once again.
Yet the only reason the country is in a shutdown is because men and women at the Capitol are able to go home to their families, put their feet up and enjoy the thought of a hard-paying day at work. Government employees are not able to do the same because they no longer have the pleasure of leaving their homes to go to work.
The next step for the Republicans is to try passing a bill to defund the Act. This won’t be an easy feat.
“I want to be absolutely crystal clear: Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead, dead,” said Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader.
Opinion columnist Derail Texada is a broadcast journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]