Federal Government or 'General Hospital'?
Image taken from: static1.businessinsider.com.

Federal Government or 'General Hospital'?

(The Verge) – So what of this government shutdown? We’ve heard compelling arguments from both sides–House Republicans and Senate Democrats with President Obama. But one lingering detail remains: Americans are fed up with the soap-opera that’s been called the federal government, and even SNL writers have it down-pat, making fun of this whole charade in their latest episode featuring Miley Cyrus.
But what does this shutdown really stem from?
The customary power of Congress is to fund the government. Each fiscal year (October 1 – September 30), Congress is supposed to pass a budget that funds the agencies, pays out federal loans, and makes sure our troops remain on active pay (to mention a few of the fiscal duties the government has).
This year, however, the Republican caucus is fed up with multiple ‘travesties’ of the government’s operation: ObamaCare and the debt ceiling. Led by freshman Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, the Republicans have said that they had no problem tying in restrictions to ObamaCare on the continuing resolution which is supposed to fund the government.
In that sense, many Americans blame the Republicans for initiating the ‘Government Shutdown,’ which began after Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, spoke before the chamber at midnight of the 1st and asked employees to prepare for an imminent closure.

A look at a sign which indicates the closing of the federal government. Image taken from: s1.ibtimes.com.

But Cruz and the Republicans have one longstanding demand: defund or at least gradually undermine the ObamaCare legislation.
Republicans want to defund it (though it’s backing comes from new taxes, fees and cost cuts), and have voted on it upwards of 40 times. But this time, it’s impact was tied to the funding of the entire government, a spectacle that Harry Reid could not easily welcome with open arms.
After the House passed additional spending measures to fund the government, the Senate Democrats did not approve. So, Congressional gridlock has ensued.
Since the 1st, pundits have condemned both sides, and there is more or less no warm feelings being spread across Washington. One detail that lawmakers did manage to hammer out, however, was a continual paycheck for active military members. Also, social security checks will continue to flow, and the post offices will remain open.
Oh yeah, and the President and Congress (thanks to the 27th amendment), will continue to be paid.
Last week, Congressional leaders met with President Obama to discuss who would ‘give-in’ first; it was of no avail. Each leader, (including Speaker of the House, John Boehner, House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell), left the meeting in no better of a position than earlier.
Reid has condemned the Republicans, saying it’s irrelevant to shut down the government over something that’s already the law of the land, and has been confirmed by the Supreme Court, in ObamaCare. Democrats also asked for an extension on the debt ceiling, as the $16.9 trillion dollar debt would have to expand to counter the drastic spending that’s occurred under the Obama administration.
Republicans, including Boehner, responded to these remarks, and the President’s, by saying that he has been perfectly willing to communicate and negotiate with the President, but that in return, Obama will not cave.
Although we’ve already dug ourselves waist-deep in this shutdown, there needs to be a call to action, and now.
What this means: Republicans need to budge a bit on their stern beliefs in the elimination of ObamaCare–the individual mandates, the funding of it, will continue, at least throughout the remaining years of the Obama administration. What the GOP can do is (something I believe has already been done passionately by Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul): campaign against it, and it’s supposed confounding effect on the job market (full-time workers being cut amid a rise in ‘part-timers,’ so that employers aren’t driven toward fines).
Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, walks passed an alert photographer. Image taken from static.guim.co.uk.

Also, the larger ‘ideological’ issue with all of this: the overstepping of government power into the private (health) sector. Well, that’s been a touchy issue, especially with Americans who seem to be split right down the middle, mainly on party lines.
As for the debt ceiling, ultimately, it will need to be increased. If it is not, government employees will soon feel the effects in their paychecks, and the government will slump toward a very drastic dark-age, one that we got a glimpse of with the near leap over the fiscal cliff last winter, and the sequester cuts to the federal budget.
Where is all of this turbulent talk going, though?
Here’s the simple, short-term solution: Republicans must compromise. Democrats must at least acknowledge the arguments of the GOP, not simply condemn it as quickly as Harry Reid has done.
No matter what, as time trudges forward, there will continue to be governmental feuds, this is just another (hopefully short) chapter in the larger book.
Just don’t try to site see at a National Park this week…technically, they’re not in operation!  

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