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ESSENTIAL SERVICES TO REMAIN OPEN
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 1, 2013) — As the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate failed to agree on an appropriations bill before the midnight deadline on Monday, a partial shutdown of government operations has been launched.
The House had provided appropriations but omitted funding for Obamacare, the unpopular health care bill set to begin its state exchange programs on Tuesday. The Senate and Obama had rejected any changes to Obamacare and blamed House Republicans for the likely shutdown.
On Saturday, the House proposed delaying the implementation of the individual mandate in Obamacare for one year, repealing the medical device tax and funding the government, but the Senate rejected those ideas. However, both chambers of Congress approved appropriations for the military during a shutdown, which Obama signed on Monday evening.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called the House’s proposals “stupid” and “pointless,” vowing not to negotiate on them. House Republicans had asked that the one-year moratorium be used to re-evaluate the legislation which has already caused thousands of layoffs, reductions in hours, premium increases and a spike in the cost of medications in some cases.
Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Bill Flores pledged not to accept their respective salaries during the shutdown if it happened. Rep. Ann Wagner asked that her pay be withheld during the shutdown.
Affected services are the majority of the White House staff, national parks and museums, research projects at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Chemical Safety and Hazard Board. Services deemed necessary to protect life or property, including firefighters and the care and feeding of animals at the National Zoo, will continue, as will delivery of the U.S. mail.
The last shutdown occurred in fiscal year 1996 after Bill Clinton vetoed a spending bill passed by both chambers.
The Post & Email will continue to report on the effects of the shutdown and welcomes readers to share the impact on him or her individually, if any, in the coming days.
While historically Republicans are blamed for government shutdowns, The Guardian reports that there is a three-point difference between those blaming Republicans and those blaming the Democrats and Obama.