As you may have heard, a standoff between the Republican-majority house and Democratic-majority senate has, as of midnight October 1, resulted in a government shutdown that costs the U.S. economy around $1 billion per week. With the government at a standstill, all national parks, zoos, and museums are closed, and up to 800,000 federal workers considered "nonessential" are furloughed until further notice. The military, postal service, and other departments deemed essential will continue running.
The issue centers on Obama's Affordable Care Act. The GOP House, which has been fuming over the ACA since it passed in 2010, has voted 42 times to repeal it. Right before the shutdown, they took advantge of the latest budget to go nuclear and cut funding for the legislation, which was finally slated to kick in on Tuesday. The Senate rejected the move, leaving America with no budget.
Since the shutdown, Obama, taking a kind of "not going to negotiate with the terrorists" stance, has accused the Republicans of "demand[ing] a ransom," adding at a speech in front of construction workers in Maryland today that the GOP was "reckless."
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) shot back placing the blame on senate stubbornness, saying in a statement today, "Republicans have sent bill after bill after bill to the Senate to keep the government open, and Democrats have rejected every one of them—refusing to even talk about our differences."
Congress still has not, as of today, come to an agreement.
The government shutdown has also prompted responses from some of our local representatives. Two of the following statements come from Puget Sound region Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8); the other two come from Rep. Susan DelBene (D-WA, 1).
Quick quiz, see if you can identify who said what (answers at the bottom):
1) "I am disappointed that the Senate and the House could not come to a reasonable compromise tonight. A government shutdown is not in the best interest of the American people, whom we have promised to serve."
2) “Families, children, seniors, veterans and businesses across Washington state are counting on all members of Congress to work together and do their job."
3) "We must end the brinksmanship and do the responsible thing, re-open the government and work on a long term budget.”
4) "I will do everything within my power to find a solution to this problem, to get our government reopened so that it can fulfill its duties to the utmost benefit of this great nation."
Answers: 1) Reichert; 2) DelBene; 3) DelBene; 4) Reichert