By Camila Camborda (First Year Representative)
The opinions expressed in this piece are solely the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the BU College Democrats at large.
Failing to reach a budget agreement by midnight, the United States Government is officially in a partial shut-down. Following an uncertain weekend, the House once again passed a continuing resolution postponing the Affordable Care Act for a year, which the Senate promptly rejected when it reconvened. Late last night the Senate then passed a Continuing Resolution back to the house, minus the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions at which point it appeared that a conference would take place between Representatives and Senators. The conference did not take place however. It was rejected by Senate Majority Leader Reid who said that a conference would not be held when a “gun was held to their head.”
That was yesterday. Today the nation awoke to the reality of a shutdown, which ramifications we are just beginning to understand. While President Obama signed a last-minute bill last night guaranteeing military pay, federal employees considered “non-essential” will face furloughs. National Parks and Monuments will close, the CDC will no longer continue research and the NIH will no longer accept new patients. As college students we face reductions and cancellations of federal funds that grant us work-study jobs.
Both parties are responding to the shut-down as expected, blaming each other for the crisis. Democrats continue to insist on a clean budget that will continue government operations before negotiating possible changes to the Affordable Care Act, which rolled out today as planned, continuing resolution or not. On the other side of the aisle, ideas have floated about a piece meal approach, passing bills to fund individual services, such as Park Services and Veterans Affairs, in an effort to once again defund the ACA.
An interesting reaction from the right is being portrayed. Fox News, a leading right-wing network has chosen to call the shut-down a “slim-down”, implying a positive change to an overly large government. Some right-wing blogs have also pointed to the fact that services such as the TSA and USPS will continue to run, and that what we are facing is “not so bad”. In my opinion these are moves to protect Republicans in congress who will face backlash from constituents, many of whom are employed by the government, and seek to pin the blame on Democrats.
As we continue through this shutdown I think it is important to understand the severity of the situation. Even though essential services that keep the government running bare-bones will still be funded, there are still many Americans who will feel the impact of this. Whether you agree with the ACA or not, shutting down government operations should not be taken so lightly.