The government is back to business after its two-week shutdown.
The Federal government shut down at midnight, Oct. 1, due to Congress’ inability to agree on a budget to fund all federal programs.
The main disagreement was over the funding for the Affordable Care Act. Congress fell into the classic Democrat vs. Republican fight: the majority of the Republicans in Congress were against Obama’s healthcare plan and wanted to defund it, while the Democrats were for it. This disagreement over the bill prevented any work on the budget to continue.
During the 16 day shutdown, meetings were held frequently between Democratic and Republican parties in hopes of reaching an agreement. Obama said that he would only meet with Republican leaders if they agreed to the funding needed to reopen the government and to increase the nation’s debt limit.
With these terms in mind, the Republican and Democratic parties met, and the Republicans eventually agreed to raise the debt limit, allowing the government to reopen just before their deadline.
Obama then signed a bill raising the debt ceiling, effectively avoiding worldwide economic issues. The Federal government will be funded through Jan. 15 and the debt ceiling debate has been deferred until Feb. 7. Along with the signing of the bill, Congress avoided defaulting on the national treasury.
With the government up and running, all Federal workers can return to work after their forced vacations. 800,000 government employees will return to work and the 100,000 “essential employees” who were forced to work without pay, returned to normalcy on Oct.17. The National parks, the Smithsonian, and The Environmental Protection Agency are among the government funded federal agencies that can now reopen their doors.Luckily for all the Federal employees, the new funding bill that was produced provides back pay to all those who were affected by shutdown.
The work on the budget has not ended yet, and negotiations are sure to start up soon. Many are pointing fingers at the Republican party for the shutdown, including Obama who deemed it as “completely unnecessary” damage to the economy.
The cause of this shutdown was not that unusual. Since 1978 the government has been shutdown a total of 18 times, and 7 out of the 18 shutdowns have been over budget disagreements.
And while there are concerns over the return of a shutdown in three months, Obama when asked if he was concerned said, “no.”