Picture this—it’s a nice Sunday night. You’re playing a game of Monopoly with your brother. You’ve played the game together many times before and you often manage to keep it civil. Sometime he wins, and sometimes you win. That’s just part of the game. Today, however, things are a bit peculiar. Your brother wants to alter the current rules of how the game is played and he won’t take no for an answer. With neither side willing to concede, there is but one option—a Monopoly shutdown.
Yes, this is a rather absurd example of a very serious issue, but on Tuesday, October 1, the U.S. government faced the first partial shutdown in 17 years. There has been no shortage of government shutdown threats in the past, but this is the first time in a while that any major action has resulted.
The shutdown occurred over the issue of President Obama’s healthcare law, known as Obamacare. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives adamantly demanded that Obamacare be delayed for a year as a stipulation for passing the bill. On Monday afternoon, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 54-46 against the House’s bill. Since the two houses of Congress were unable to agree upon a single budget, a partial government shutdown has resulted.
This shutdown could have serious effects for many U.S. citizens. Up to 800,000 federal employees are facing the serious issue of unpaid leave until a compromise is reached. Staffs from the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Transportation are all affected. Additionally, Smithsonian Institutions, zoos, museums, and national parks will be closed. Even the official U.S. Capitol twitter account is subject to the shutdown, tweeting, “Due to a lapse in government funding, this account will not be active until further notice.” Experts believe this will negatively affect the economy but are uncertain to what extent. Fortunately, the self-funded US Postal Services will continue as normal.
This is not the first time that a government shutdown has occurred because of political differences. The infamous shutdowns of 1995 and 1996 occurred after a standoff between President Clinton and the then Republican Congress. This incident resulted in damaged Republican election possibilities and the revival of Clinton’s political position.
It is currently unknown how long the government standoff will last. The issue could be resolved in a few days or a few months. The Senate has already rejected the House-passed bills twice, and it is likely that this trend will continue. “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,” Obama said on Monday in response to the House’s actions.
This situation makes us once again question the legitimacy of the current political climate of the United States. If Congress is unable to carry out its most fundamental functions, then there is certainly a flaw in the system. What do you think about the current state of affairs? Does there need to be some drastic shift in the present operations of the U.S.? Let us know in the comment section below.