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Government shutdown as Congress misses deadline

Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

Officially at midnight on Tuesday, the United States Congress missed its deadline to pass a spending bill, which effectively triggered the beginning of a partial government shutdown for the first time in 17 years.
So what does this mean to you?
• National parks are closed. Campers have 48 hours to leave the many camping sites. Those affected include the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, Grand Canyon National Park, and more. This hurts businesses surrounding these areas like hotels, restaurants, etc.
• Disability and pension payments may be interrupted for veterans the longer the shutdown drags on.
• Federal research interrupted, huring government’s ability to detect and investigate disease outbreaks.
• The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) debuts in health insurance markets as coverage starts in January.
• Routine food inspections by the Food and Drug Administration will be suspended. Meat inspection does continue through the Agriculture Department.
• The FAA will furlough 2,500 safety office personnel and 3,000 inspectors are expected to be off work.
• Active-duty military personnel stay on duty and will get paychecks on time, thanks to bill signed by President Barack Obama ensuring this through the shutdown period.
• The WIC program (Women, Infants, and Children) could shut down.
• Those traveling abroad can still get a passport as the Bureau of Consular Affiars are fully supported by user fees.
• The FHA will approve fewer loans as only 67 of the 349 employees will continue working.
• Social Security and Medicare benefits will continue to be sent.
These bullet points I gathered, with help from an Associated Press article, should help readers understand what is coming in lieu of the government shutdown.
Legislators failed to reach a compromise mostly due to an addition in the bill seeking a delay of the Affordable Care Act’s Implementation for one year.
Republicans claim there are still many more uncertainties in the legislation, which could have a hurtful affect not originally realized by Congress when a bill was passed a couple of years ago with most legislators admitting to not having even read the bill they voted for.
Here’s my take on this wholesituation…while I agree there are positives to ACA like in the example of preexisting conditions, there are so many problems with it. This legislation is going to cripple our economy.
I’ve said for two years that this one piece of legislation will bring our country to its knees.
The days of a 40 hour work week are gone. This was addressed in a union letter signed by both the Teamsters President James Hoffa and UFCW President Joseph Hansen. It was perhaps drafted two years too late).
“Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class…Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans…We continue to stand behind real health care reform, but the law as it stands will hurt millions of Americans including the members of our respective unions.”
Businesses will cut employees and are already announcing scale back efforts (see Walgreens) to counteract it.
Investor’s Business Daily reports that as a direct result of ObamaCare, more than 300 companies have either eliminated jobs or reduced full-time jobs to part-time jobs. They also report that hospitals across the country are firing staff and reducing work hours.
It’s so bad that those who drew up the law are wanting to exempt themselves from it as well as so many large corporations.
At the end of the day this is a poor piece of legislation with devastating effects on our country as we know it. This latest Republican effort, however, should have been done several debt ceiling votes ago. At some point, we need to get our debt under control and ACA is going to make it worse (see Mass. and their spending more than $500 million more than budgeted on a similar effort in the first three years).
I think Republicans felt their backs were against the wall. They waited until the last minute for the law to take effect to finally get drastic with their actions. The time to do this was a while ago. Their stand might have appeared stronger a year ago. Now they look like kids who didn’t get their way and while I don’t blame them for taking the stance finally, it’s too late.
The normal “Joe Smith” hearing about the shutdown will label this as Republicans not getting their way instead of the really good reasons many lawmakers have as for why this law likely shouldn’t have been passed as currently written.
Both parties are to blame for what and I believe President Barack Obama is responsible too. He keeps talking about getting both sides to the table but we never see it in action. At some point, he needs to step in a be a real leader on this issue. Unfortunately, he whines in his speeches about as much as both sides of Congress do through their political stunts.
With the current sideshow featuring both political parties, only time will tell where our legislators and the president are going to take this nation.