(Long Island, NY) The United States is set to both hit the debt ceiling and run out of money on Oct. 1, and, if Congress cannot agree on a budget, the nation will face a government shutdown.
House Republicans passed a measure that would fund the government, but it is contingent on defunding Obamacare. Democrats in the Senate are generally supportive of the plan to fund the government, but they have made it abundantly clear that they will not pass a budget that defunds Obamacare.
In an attempt to force Senate Democrats to pass a bill that defunds the program, Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Marco Rubio planned to filibuster. In response, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement, warning the freshman senators that he will not support their tactic. He also warned Cruz that his planned filibuster could backfire and all but guarantee a shutdown. Although many top Senate Republicans said they would not support a filibuster, they remain stolid in their plan to defund Obamacare.
Senator Ted Cruz recites Green Eggs and Ham during the filibuster of obamacare.
Despite not having support from many Republicans, Cruz took the floor on Tuesday and vowed to speak as long “as he could stand”. However, this did not constitute a true filibuster, because the Senate will still vote on a government-spending bill.
“Madam President, I rise today in opposition to ObamaCare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans. All across this country Americans are suffering because of ObamaCare. ObamaCare isn’t working. Yet fundamentally there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people. They are not listening to the concerns of their constituents, they are not listening to the jobs lost or the people forced into part-time work, to the people losing their health insurance, to the people who are struggling. A great many Texans, a great many Americans feel they don’t have a voice. I hope to play some very small part in helping provide that voice for them. I intend to speak in opposition to ObamaCare, I intend to speak in support of defunding ObamaCare, until I am no longer able to stand, to do everything I can to help Americans stand together and recognize this grand experiment three and a half years ago is, quite simply, not working.” Senator Ted Cruz said in the opening of his 21 hour, 19 minute speech
On Wednesday, after Cruz’s 21-hour speech, the Senate voted 100 to 0 to begin a debate on a temporary spending bill passed by the House of Representatives, in which the Republican Party holds the majority. However, the Democratic Senate is not likely to pass the bill, because it does defund The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare. If both houses of Congress cannot agree on a bill, the government will shut down on Oct. 1.
The threat of a government shutdown looms large over the current congressional session. Democrats and Republicans both hope to avoid a shutdown and for good reason. You may imagine that a government shutdown would save the nation money, because, throughout the shutdown, many government employees wouldn’t be working, and national parks and zoos would close. Unfortunately, shutdowns end up costing money—and a lot of it. The previous shutdown in 1995 and 1996 cost $1.4 billion. The government is designed to run through thick and thin, which makes stopping its processes very complicated and expensive.
Besides the $1.5 billion price tag, you may be wondering what a shutdown would look like. How would it affect your everyday life?
Perhaps the most talked-about effect of a shutdown is the suspension of trash collection in the nation’s capitol. Washington, D.C.’s budget is unique in that it must be approved directly by Congress, meaning that a shutdown would cause many services to grind to a halt. Each week that the shutdown continues, 500 tons of garbage would pile into the streets.
The shutdown also would postpone all non-emergency passport services. So, if your passport is up for renewal, it might be prudent to renew before Oct. 1. Likewise, no gun permits would be issued during the shutdown. If you are planning to ask for a federal loan to buy a house or start a small business, you’d also be out of luck during a shutdown. On a positive note, both the military and the post office will continue to function, keeping our freedoms secure and our spam paper mail delivered.
If there is any good news, it’s that the shutdown would most likely end quickly due to pressure from the Defense Department and public outcry.