Government Shutdown Over!

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(Cartoon by Monty Fu)

What an awful start to the 2014 Fiscal Year!  After a  sixteen day deadlock that brought the nation to its knees, the GOP finally backed down and agreed to a bill that was able to reopen up the government. This bill passed the Senate with a 81 to 18 vote and passed the House of Representatives with a resounding 285-144. All 144 votes against passing the bill were GOP votes. The government shutdown left over 800,000 federal employees furloughed, as well as cost the government an estimated $24 billion. Museums and monuments are open again as of Thursday, October 17.

“I was worried when the government first shut down, but once they passed the pill for back pay I was okay with it. I’m just glad to be back at work now,” says John Topoleski, a worker who had been furloughed. Workers are glad to be back at work and making money again. Many furloughed workers were struggling with rent and grocery shopping. Those with kids terrified about not being able to support them.

The government reopened right in the knick of time before the national debt default deadline.  Had Congress been unable to come to a decision on the FY14 Budget before Oct 17, the United States Government would have been forced to essentially file for bankruptcy. It seems foolish of our government to find their pride so important that they would put our whole nation at risk. The GOP’s relentless attacks on the Affordable Care Act and the Democratic Caucus’ unwillingness to budge and make any sort of compromise were the sole, ostensible causes of this fiasco.

Fortunately, things seem to have returned to normal, and a bill passed by Congress during the shutdown guarantees furloughed employees back-pay at the end of October.