5 questions you were afraid to ask about the government shutdown

By Amanda Battle and Erin Bartenfelder

  1. Why is the government shutdown?
    Congress is in charge of passing a budget every fiscal year. Each fiscal year begins on October 1st. Congress did not pass a budget, and the federal government cannot operate without one.
  2. How did this happen?
    The conflict is over the source of funding for ObamaCare (a governmental program that will provide accessible healthcare to those who don’t have it). The budget first goes through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. The House Republicans want to de-fund ObamaCare because they believe the government healthcare mandate will come at the cost of employers. The Senate Democrats refuse to comprise its funding. This disagreement led to a failed budget and the government shutdown.
  3. How does this impact Americans?
    According to CNN, approximately 800,000 federal employees have been sent home without pay (this does not include Obama or Congress, though). All national parks, Smithsonian Museums, and the National Zoo have been closed. Don’t worry though, the animals are going to be okay!!
  4. So what happens now?
    We wait. The House and Senate need to reach a compromise in order to resolve a budget. CNN reports that a three to four week shutdown will cost the economy 55 billion dollars. If no budget is passed by October 17th, Congress will not be able to raise the debt ceiling (which is currently at $16.699 trillion). This will be catastrophic for the global economy.
  5. Who are the major players in the government shutdown?
    President Barack Obama (Democrat)
    House Speaker John Boehner (Republican)
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat)
    Senator Ted Cruz (Republican)

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