The ins and outs of the Government Shutdown

Kevin Heberling, Correspondent

I’m sure many of you have some questions about all of the goings-on in the government right now. Such as: “how could a government shutdown”, “who is responsible”, and “what happens now?”

Let me do my level best to answer these inquiries. First off, let me explain the basic process of how something like this could occur.

The constitution gives the legislative branch the power to raise taxes, which as you know is how our government pays for everything. Since the legislative branch is given this right, congress ultimately decides what parts of the government get funded. Now we should move on to the concept of a fiscal year. For the business majors out there, you should know that this is the time allotted for a corporation or conglomerate to pass an annual budget for their yearly expenses. The U.S. Government has to pass a budget as well and they must accomplish this by the end of the fiscal year, which ends every year at midnight on October 1st. During this shutdown the government does not fund any “non-essential” government agencies or personnel, such as the operations of public parks and memorials. Though it should be noted that President Obama signed a funding bill early on in the shutdown to fund all active military personnel.


Onto the reasons behind the phenomenon of the government shutdown. Basically what we have been seeing here is an inability to cooperate in both of the political parties, paired with the arrival of a radically conservative political faction. This faction, known as the Tea Party, has hijacked the Republican Party and coerced them into using the threat of the ongoing government shutdown in order to defund the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare).

I am not writing this article to voice my support or opposition of Obamacare, but the fact of the matter is that it is a law. This law was passed by the legislative branch, signed by the executive branch, and declared constitutional by the judicial branch. In turn, this act is an official law of the United States of America and the Republican Party simply cannot accept that.

Many people have looked to President Obama when voicing their blame for this shutdown. While I would agree that both sides contributed to this shutdown, I more so agreed with the President when he said that he would not negotiate “with a gun held to the head of the American people.”

When I asked famed political commentator Jonah Goldberg who he thought was to blame for this shutdown, he had this to say. “This is what happens in government when one party steamrolls another.” He absolutely had a point because when this massive piece of legislation was passed, the House and Senate both had a Democratic majority. This majority made it fairly easy to pass such a liberal piece of legislation.

Finally, onto the aftermath of this shutdown and the trials that lies ahead. Last night, after all of this resistance, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution which was subsequently passed by the Senate.This continuing resolution is essentially a bill that funds the government until January 15th and pushes the national debt ceiling back to February 7th.

The real danger of this whole fiasco was the aforementioned debt ceiling. This is essentially an imaginary limit on how much debt the federal government is allowed to have; if this limit is reached then the Federal Reserve cannot issue bonds to other countries, which means the government cannot borrow money from countries like China and France. Such an event would obviously be disastrous, so can the Republicans and Democrats keep from impeding the government in the coming months?

Will Obamacare continue to be disputed to the point of governmental immobilization? Only time will tell.