News Wire Reply

Emily Kochanek – News Editor

On September 30, the United States government went into an official shutdown. But what happened? Does this affect college students? What do all of these odd terms coming out of the shutdown mean? And what does defaulting mean in government?

First, the cause: as lawmakers bicker on the Hill, their time to create a budget for the country ran out. According to the Constitution, Congress cannot spend or grant money for government organizations without passing a budget.

And what do they need to do to fix this problem? “Clean CR” has been thrown around lawmakers as the conventional way to pass a budget bill. “CR” refers to a continuing resolution, or a budget resolution that funds many areas of government. Republicans, especially Texas representative Rand Paul, have been arguing to vote on appropriation bills that would fund specific parts of government at a time.

However, Democrats and some partisan Republicans have refused to pass appropriating bills. Instead, they argue if one section of government is opened, all must be opened. So instead of only funding Women, Infants, and Children ( WIC) and Head Start, there must be complete funding, Panda Cams included.

Ironically, due to partisan bickering, Democrats are refusing to fund programs they have traditionally championed for and Republicans are supporting programs that they usually try to defund. Yet the Congressional infighting is allegedly in the name of the American people.

Now with the government edging closer to defaulting on October 17, the debt ceiling wars raging, and a four year law callously being tossed around, there is one question: Where does the American public go from here?

With more than 800,000 federal workers either furloughed or working without pay, tensions around the country are running high. But Congress will not take their constituent’s salaries as motivation to break the partisan bickering and time is running out. Although a meeting on October 10 with Republican House leaders with President Obama was a “good meeting,” according to a statement issued by the White House, no deal to open the government or raise the debt ceiling to avoid defaulting was reached.

The government shutdown is not the issue that should permeate through Americans’ minds; defaulting will be catastrophic internationally. Defaulting without raising the debt ceiling means America will no long be able to borrow money and will not be able to pay its bond holders or bills on time. According to NBC Politics, the nation’s borrowing limit is 16.7 trillion dollars. But in default, the government will only have 30 billion dollars to spend, further limiting government programs and workers.

Not to say that Congress did not see this coming. According to Secretary of Trea- sury Jack Lew on “Meet the Press,” the debt limit had been met back in May. However, he continued, extraordinary measures, measures that prolong the use of money in government, have been exhausted. “There are no more…I have nothing left in the drawer,” said Lew to Congress.

“It’s Congress’ job to fund the government,” said Lew. As the ones who elected the Congress with a ten percent approval rate, the America people’s education and communication about the government’s dysfunction is imperative. Write a letter, pick up the phone; get in touch with the congressmen and women. Some might even answer with their staff furloughed.

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