Once again, the federal government is on the verge of a shutdown
The American political scene is famous for its polarized, partisan nature, and living up to its reputation, it appears the federal government is headed toward yet another shutdown. The Associated Press reports that the Senate on Tuesday blocked a spending bill in a 55-to-45 vote. The bill was needed to keep the government open beyond Friday’s midnight deadline; if all 100 senators do not come to an understanding in the coming days, the government could well shut down, which it hasn’t done since 2013.
The bill in question offers funds to fight against the Zika virus, as well as $500 million to help Louisiana after last month’s flooding. Most Democrats, and a handful of Republicans, voted against the bill, following bitter strife over a Zika relief plan earlier this month that prohibited funding for Planned Parenthood. But the real conflict, now, is over funding for the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Democrats are demanding that the bill provide funding for Flint, while Republicans would rather not deal with it until after the election, and Democrats don’t exactly trust their word on that.
“We believe that the [spending bill] should include assistance for communities facing disasters across the country – and that Flint and communities like it should not be left behind,” read a letter signed by eight Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry M. Reid of Nevada and Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan.
Ironically, Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are putting Democrats on blast for potentially shutting down the government over their politics, which should raise the eyebrows of anyone whose memory reaches back as far as three years ago.
The last time the federal government actually shut down over refusal to cooperate within the Senate, the strife was related to the Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare). You might remember this incident as the first time Texas Senator Ted Cruz became a household name, back in the pleasant, somewhat innocent days prior to his failed presidential election.
At about this time last year, the government similarly was on the verge of shutdown, as one could guess, because Republicans were butthurt about Planned Parenthood and just about ready to lead a rebellion against then-Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner for conceding. What’s changed, really?
That being said, regardless of the party spearheading the charge and the ideologies in play, government shutdowns aren’t popular with Americans, and bring fiscal uncertainty to government workers, according to polling by the Washington Post back in 2013.