The US government shutdown, the first in 18 years , the result of the failure of Congress to reach agreement on the Federal budget that funds all government services, functions, departments and branches (including the military) and funding of innumerable programs is gradually engaging. It means that national parks will close, most routine food inspections will be suspended, paperwork will slow at government offices and many federal employees will be furloughed.
Only emergency and essential items would be able to operate, as a result of which lakhs of government employees would not receive their salary for the duration of the government shutdown.
Senator Ben Cardin alleged that the Republicans have manufactured a crisis that will cost taxpayers even more money while inconveniencing, if not harming, individuals, families and businesses across the country.
The partial shutdown of the federal government has seen more than 800,000 federal workers furloughed, and numerous governmental programs have been forced to stop running. For example, the government shutdown has already caused as many as 19,000 children to lose access to Head Start. Many recipients of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, more commonly known as WIC, will lose assistance as reported by Democracy Now. The host Amy Goodman revealed that “the federal government shutdown began on Tuesday, October 1st, the same day a key facet of President Obama’s healthcare law went live nationwide. For the first time, Americans were able to begin purchasing health insurance from federal and state exchanges. Nearly three million people visited the federal website healthcare.gov, while New York’s state site claimed it had more than 10 million hits.”
“Meanwhile, The New York Times reported the new healthcare law will leave out two-thirds of the nation’s poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the nation’s low-wage workers who don’t have insurance because they they live in states largely controlled by Republicans who have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid.”
President Obama met with Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress to try to end the deadlock, but there was no breakthrough.
Republicans, led by the tea party wing, have tried to tie continued government funding to measures that would undercut the Affordable Care Act. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of trying to hold the president hostage over "Obamacare."
The more extreme elements in the Republican party on Capitol Hill are dead adamant regarding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and have resorted to a political checkmate.
The ramifications of the stoppage of government funds on businesses in the US and abroad remains to be seen, with the president suggesting a meeting with business leaders soon. Democracy Now guest Imara Jones, an economist who worked for the Clinton White House added a grave but real scenario: “One of the other interesting parts of the story is that the federal government is the largest employer in the United States. And regardless of whether or not one is furloughed or at work, you’re not receiving a paycheck. That means that two million families are not receiving pay. Because of unionization and anti-discriminatory laws, people of color are overrepresented in government jobs. That’s true for the federal government. There are more people of color in the federal workforce as a whole than the broader workforce. And so, what this means is that the employment crisis in communities of color, the economic crisis in communities of color, is accentuated and exacerbated and extended by this shutdown.
The shutdown of the U.S. government appeared likely to drag on for another week and possibly longer as lawmakers ended day three of the shutdown with a stalling game. There was no end in sight until the next crisis hits Washington around October 17, according to Reuters.