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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Shutdown: Nation undecided

Shutdown. At midnight on Sept. 30, the U.S. government shut down.

As the clock ticked down to the start of a new fiscal year, Congress was unable to resolve its differences and pass a new spending bill, forcing the federal government to shut down.

After 16 days of political brinksmanship, on Oct. 17, Congress passed a temporary spending bill, authorizing government spending and raising the debt ceiling.

The bill’s source of contention stemmed from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare. House Republicans insisted that any new spending bill include provisions to defund, derail and/or postpone the implementation of Obamacare — a condition too steep for Senate Democrats.

“It’s not surprising,” said Sanjay Marwah, assistant professor of justice and policy studies. “Congress has always played games, and this is not the first time we are witnessing the result of Congress’s inability to compromise.”

According to a CNN analysis, more than 800,000 government workers were furloughed due to the shutdown.

Despite opposition by Senator Ted Cruz and his hard-right Tea Party, the vote to reopen the government passed, extending the debt ceiling until Feb. 7 and authorizing spending levels until Jan. 15.

But chances of another shutdown early next year loom large, and Norman Ornstein, political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has low expectations for compromise.

“I have very small hopes that there will be a budget deal from the Budget Committees conference by the given date,” Ornstein said in an email interview with The Guilfordian. “The odds of a deal are about 25 percent.”

Kelsey Reppert, a first-year at North Carolina State University, is also still concerned.

“One of the many organizations to suffocate due to the shutdown was the National Science Foundation,” Reppert said in an email interview. “The NSF funds Research Experience for Undergraduates, a summer program that connects undergraduates from across the country with researchers at universities.

“If the NSF is uncertain about funding, I, along with many students and professors, will not be able to do research this upcoming summer.”

Perhaps of most concern, however, is the impact on the domestic economy. The government is the country’s largest employer and the shutdown will inevitably create ripples throughout the economy.

“The government shutdown caused uncertainty in the market,” said Natalya Shelkova, assistant professor of economics. “Uncertainty and a lack of confidence will only worsen the condition of the economic recovery.”

Former Michigan governor and president of Business Roundtable John Engler agreed.

“America’s business leaders are extremely disappointed by the failure of the nation’s political leaders to reach agreement on funding the basic operations of the federal government,” Engler told The Guilfordian in an email interview.

“At a time when both parties should be focused on job creation and policies to accelerate growth, their chronic disagreement and gridlock are actually undermining confidence, putting people out of work and hurting the economy,” he said.

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