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No Shutdown Resolution in Sight

  • Zlatica Hoke

The standoff that has shut down non-essential U.S. government operations is showing no signs of a resolution. As the shutdown entered its second day on Wednesday, Republicans and Democrats in Congress were still blaming each other, and many Americans were blaming them all.

The partisan bickering in the nation's legislature has sidelined everything from trade negotiations to medical research and has further eroded Americans' opinion of their lawmakers.

At issue is the President’s health care law, known as "Obamacare," which provides health insurance to millions of people who do not have coverage. Congressional Republicans want it repealed or at least delayed before they will agree to pass a new budget.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday he will not give in to what he called ransom demands by the Republicans. He said the law was passed in Congress and is unrelated to the budget issue.

"I'm not going to allow anybody to drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud just to re-fight a settled election or extract ideological demands," said Obama.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner blamed the Democratic-led Senate for the shutdown, saying his party has offered compromise.

"Last night they not only rejected that, but they also rejected our call to sit down and resolve our differences under the Constitution, which makes it clear that if the two Houses disagree, we should sit down and discuss and try to resolve those matters," said Boehner.

Analysts say the Republicans may lose some voter support if the shutdown continues. Rachel van Dongen, an editor for Politico, a media outlet focused on the U.S. government, claimed a small faction of the House Republicans is driving the shutdown.

"The leadership in the Republican Party, [Speaker of the House] John Boehner and his lieutenants, were always concerned about potentially losing the House majority in 2014 because of a shutdown, but they were really egged on to do this -- sparked into having a shutdown -- by the house conservative minority here. Thirty-to-40 members of the so-called Tea Party movement are really the impetus behind the shutdown," claimed van Dongen.

Americans are increasingly annoyed with partisan battles in Congress.

Paul Sacker, an engineer at the Environmental Protection Agency in New York, is just one of the many public sector employees who will take a financial hit from the government shutdown.

"I'm going to start digging into my savings as the pay-checks stop coming. I'm going to have to dig into my savings to pay my mortgage, pay my bills. My daughter is in college, we have expenses to cover for her," said Sacker.

David Poppert works for the Department of Labor in Wisconsin, and says that his being furloughed will also hurt employees in the private sector.

"Part of it is I'm not going to be going to McDonald's and spending a dollar. I'm not going to be going to Home Depot and spending money on home renovation projects. So for every dollar I don't spend at a business, that business is not making money to pay its employees," said Poppert.

Because of the shutdown, about 800,000 U.S. federal employees have been placed on unpaid leave for an indefinite period of time. The last federal shutdown was in 1995 and 1996, lasted 21 days and was the longest in U.S. history.

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