News / USA

    Partial US Government Shutdown Begins

    Speaker of the House John Boehner, R- Ohio, pauses during a news conference after a House Republican Conference meeting, Sept. 30, 2013.
    Speaker of the House John Boehner, R- Ohio, pauses during a news conference after a House Republican Conference meeting, Sept. 30, 2013.
    Michael Bowman
    The U.S. government has entered a partial shutdown after a politically-deadlocked Congress could not pass a bill to extend funding. Lawmakers worked late into the night but could not overcome a partisan split over President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, a major component of which is being implemented Tuesday.
     
    Three times, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to undermine the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as a condition of funding federal operations. Three times, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected the measures. With Congress unable to agree on an extension of federal spending authority, non-essential U.S. government operations halted early Tuesday.
     
    Democratic Senator Richard Durbin was incredulous over the turn of events.
     
     “Shutting down the government of the United States of America? When you hear about this happening in foreign countries, you think, ‘It is a shame they are not as stable and strong as our great democracy’. And yet here we are,” said Durbin.
     
    The Senate passed its own spending bill free of partisan stipulations about Obamacare or any other matter, but Republican leaders in the House declined to bring that measure to the floor for a vote. Representative Michele Bachmann belongs to a core group of House Republicans that refuses to abandon the fight against Obamacare.
     
    “I have gotten literally hundreds and hundreds of phone calls to my office today, and people have said, ‘Keep fighting. Stand strong’. They want us to stand and fight. They do not want us to give up,” said Bachman.
     
    Other Republicans, such as Senator Lisa Murkowski, think their party’s campaign against Obamacare has gone too far.
     
    “I am not a supporter of the Affordable Care Act. But do I believe that we should shut down the federal government at this point because we have not been able to shut down the Affordable Care Act? I think we have a responsibility here to govern,” said Murkowski.
     
    Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, are united behind President Obama in funding the government while keeping Obamacare intact. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats will hold firm.
     
    “We will not re-litigate the health care debate or negotiate at the point of a gun," said Reid.
     
    In the final hour before the shutdown began, House Republicans suggested a bicameral negotiation to resolve differences between the two chambers, but Senator Reid immediately rejected the idea. Similarly, House Speaker John Boehner ruled out a vote on the Senate funding-only bill.
     
    And so, with no resolution passed, the U.S. government’s authority to spend money expired as the clock struck midnight in Washington. Hours earlier, at the White House, President Obama voiced frustration and disappointment over Congress’ inability to act.
     
    Later on Tuesday, the president will tout provisions of Obamacare that are being activated despite the shutdown. Many Americans of modest means who lack healthcare insurance will be able to sign up for subsidized policies on newly-created insurance exchanges.

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    Comments
         
    by: Jade from: Texas
    October 01, 2013 11:03 AM
    It still blows my mind that anyone with a brain would be okay with Obamacare.Those of you that have crappy jobs, or no jobs(aka the people who put Obama in office), are the only ones who benefit from this. Those of us who actually work and try to make something for ourselves get the short end. We have to pay for the worthless individuals out there who don't work. Let me also point out that I'm by no means rich and, thanks to Obamacare, I'll now be FORCED to pay for expensive company health care. I'm a young healthy girl. I DON'T WANT insurance. I never get sick and I'm just fine without it. So, thank you, Obama. This is SO affordable for EVERYONE. And just an FYI, not all Republicans are RICH(obviously). A lot of us are just people that believe in hard work and making things happen for ourselves, not expecting someone else to do/pay for it for us. All of these co-dependent people leeching on the system are what's bringing our country down, with Obama's help.
    In Response

    by: Reiner from: Toronto
    October 01, 2013 10:37 PM
    Really now! Youth and health do not last forever. My wife is from the US and we have seen friends of hers who have WORKED hard for decades providing for there familiea suddenly fall ill and have to sign over their house to the hospital to get treatment. We live in Canada, with our second prgnancy there were major umforseen health complications-thanks to our socialized health care as you call it we were able to have first class health even as an average family. Our 1lb 10oz litle girl spent 3 months in the NICU with constant nursing attendance. Can you even fathom what that costs. Now we have a healthy precocious 3 year old that brightens our every day. We are not draining society we both work and pay our taxes which fund the health care system, and when are daughter grows up she will pay her part too. I think the US is a great country, but when it comes to health care for all it's citizens it plays favorites. Don't write off the rest of the world as being stupid, you could maybe learn something from it!

    by: jameyoneill
    October 01, 2013 3:28 AM
    Shut down the federal government ? How stupid!! That's not gonna solve anything at all!! The house of representatives won't suffer from this, they r already rich!! Lots of people will lose their jobs and will be in need of help, then where will America be then?

    by: Paula from: Utah
    October 01, 2013 1:18 AM
    Shame on the House of Representatives for being so against the Affordable Healthcare Act. Its done so get over it many people will benefit from this. You act worse than a bunch of children. Now you want to punish the US Govt by being difficult and allowing for the shut down to happen. Think of the many people that will be affected by this, not only will it be the employees and their families but people who rely on the services.

    by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Victoria, BC, Canada
    October 01, 2013 12:31 AM
    Does this mean USA Foreign Aid has come to a stop -- no money and arms to Israel, none to African nations, none to South American countries, none to Asian countries? None?
    Full Stop. No foreign aid checks for weapons to anyone? Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Several months of government shut down and there will be World Peace! Excellent.

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