By now you’ve probably heard something about the imminent government shutdown (which, if it happens, will be at midnight tonight when the fiscal year ends). If you’re like me, you don’t know much about it because you have been too busy binging on old episodes of “Breaking Bad,” chasing a toddler, drinking wine, and baking and freezing multiple layers of a birthday cake for a 2-year-old and his 25 closest friends to follow the news closely. But if you are like other people, maybe you get the gist of what is going on, and this is the place where you can educate those of us who remain ignorant and you can vent with others who understand your pain. I know for many of us Americans this is a really big deal, especially for those whose ability to qualify for, let alone, afford quality health care, hangs in the balance (which, again, is many of us). And for federal employees whose jobs — and paychecks — may be paused, this could prove equally disastrous.
Here’s a short list of links to get us started and I will update this as you share and I find more.
“Who’s Really to Blame for the Looming Government Shutdown? Sluts.” [via Jezebel]
“Women Senators: GOP’s Birth Control Amendment ‘Defies Logic” [via HuffPo]
“10 ways a government shutdown would affect your daily life” [via Political Ticker]
“Impact of a government shutdown” [via Washington Post]
Live updates of the impending shutdown [via NYTimes]
“Who will notice a US government shut down? Public workers, foreign governments and people with the flu” [via Quartz]
Lyra September 30, 2013, 3:13 pm
Things like this make me wish everyone would just come to an agreement, hug it out, and sing Kum Bah Yah.
bethany September 30, 2013, 3:19 pm
I vote for a do-over. This has all just gotten too complicated- We should just start over.
I’m soooo glad I’m not in politics.
rachel September 30, 2013, 5:32 pm
Haha, I told my boss today that our founding fathers would probably look at our government today and say “Really guys??”
Banana September 30, 2013, 3:23 pm
I’m not going to participate in discussion beyond this comment, mostly because my job involves politics and I use this site as a release/escape from political reading — BUT, I have to say, when they were on the verge of shutdown a couple of years ago, there was a great bar on the Hill that did a countdown special where the price of a bucket of Bud Light was tied to the shutdown clock. So as the clock counted down to shutdown, the price went down. I didn’t stay until the end of the night, but a $2 bucket of Bud would almost make up for, well, drinking Bud Light in the first place.
Banana September 30, 2013, 3:26 pm
Oh, and also, last time staffer friends told me that reps/senators had to submit a list of “non essential employees,” which were the people who would immediately go on unpaid furlough in the event of a shutdown. Some of them tried to make sure that most of their employees at least got part-time pay in the event of a shutdown. One friend’s boss (a senator) put everyone in his office except himself down as “non essential employees.” So no one on his staff would get paid in the event of a shutdown…EXCEPT HIM.
starpattern September 30, 2013, 5:11 pm
Ugh, reading that gave me an eye twitch. I feel like the Congresscritters should willingly return their paychecks during a shutdown/furlough as a gesture of good faith. Obviously that senator had nobody’s best interests in mind but his own. 🙁
GatorGirl September 30, 2013, 3:23 pm
I seriously can not understand what this means. I read the articles. I need like a “US Government Shut Down for Dummies” book.
Banana September 30, 2013, 3:28 pm
TLDR: if Congress can’t pass a budget, the government “shuts down.” This means nonessential employees go on unpaid furlough and nonessential services (like the National Parks) close until the budget is passed.
Okay, I’m breaking my “I won’t discuss this” rule. Now going in stealth mode 🙂
GatorGirl September 30, 2013, 3:30 pm
yeah, I got that part…but that seems to be like the only thing. Cops, Postal Service, National Defense…they all still work. I assume Congress still works as they have to pass the bills etc to “reopen” the government. It doesn’t really seem like, me as a regular old civilian, will have any impact.
GatorGirl September 30, 2013, 3:31 pm
(I do think it’s shitty that government employees won’t be paid. That totally sucks.)
Christy September 30, 2013, 3:47 pm
It’s ALL the federal agencies, and all civilians on military bases (like teachers for military families). Plus DC is essentially shut down.
It’s also lost pay on TOP of all the furloughs and pay freezes that the government (tens of THOUSANDS of us) has already absorbed.
starpattern September 30, 2013, 4:41 pm
dabbler September 30, 2013, 5:13 pm
Plus there are the long term effects for the individual. Like, if we are shut down for 2 weeks, I have enough in my savings to cover that, but barely. More than that, and I’m screwed. But, I also don’t make enough, or have enough disposable income to build that back up any time soon. I’m wiping out my savings, and the only financial cushion I have. What do I do if my car suddenly needs a new transmission? Or my dog needs surgery? Or whatever. These clowns are putting me and who knows how many others into long term financial jeopardy over their political bullshit games.
Addie Pray September 30, 2013, 5:19 pm
I wonder if it affects navy doctors. My brother is one.
Addie Pray September 30, 2013, 5:19 pm
Surely it can’t.
Chrissi September 30, 2013, 5:47 pm
Military members are essential personnel. They still go to work, and their paychecks may be delayed, but they won’t lose pay.
Wendy September 30, 2013, 3:39 pm
This is more than the a few national parks closing down. This could mean the reversal of Obamacare as well as the passing of legislation that will greatly impact women’s access to affordable health care. Maybe you still think that doesn’t have an impact on you, but I think you want to get pregnant eventually, right? Well, if the republicans have their way and you happen to be starting a new job as a pregnant woman, your pregnancy would be considered a “pre-existing condition” and it would be possible for your employer to deny you health insurance. Maybe that still doesn’t impact you because you have a spouse who has great insurance or you are sure you’d never be in a position where you’re pregnant and starting a new job, but I hope you can see that this is a situation that many, many women could find themselves in, and it’s not good.
bethany September 30, 2013, 3:45 pm
I thought I read in the “10 Ways…” article that it didn’t affect Obamacare?
bethany September 30, 2013, 3:47 pm
My bad- I read something about that somewhere else… But really I just skimmed, so what do I know?
Miss MJ September 30, 2013, 3:54 pm
My understanding is that the budget passing in and of itself doesn’t necessarily impact Obamacare – it’s actually funded, shutdown or not, but that Republicans are tying any budget deal to Democrats agreeing to defund Obamacare. No budget deal = government shutdown. So basically, Republicans (or a segment of them, anyway) are saying that if Obama and the Democrats don’t agree to give up Obamacare (because delaying it or defunding it essentially means giving it up for good), then they will shut the whole government down. Republicans lost the vote on this issue. Republicans lost in the Supreme Court on this issue. Republicans lost the presidential election on this issue. Republicans have tried 40 times in the House to repeal Obamacare with zero success. So now, despite losing at every turn in the democratic process, they’ve decided that if they don’t get what they want, then they will just shut everything down by refusing to engage in the one fucking job Congress actually has, which is to pass a budget.
GatorGirl September 30, 2013, 3:59 pm
Thank you, that is a very helpful summary.
scattol September 30, 2013, 4:42 pm
It’s the Republican’s duties to fight with all the tools at their disposal for what they believe so they can’t be faulted for doing this.
Of course one could argue that they should change their mind and give up for the good of everyone but they certainly are under not obligation have to.
Voting them out is the answer to that problem.
Lindsay September 30, 2013, 5:06 pm
Well, I wouldn’t say it’s their duty to put their party above the needs of the country. Obviously, they have a right to and are clearly doing that, but I don’t think there’s any kind of institutional imperative for using the government as a tool to further their political causes.
Miss MJ September 30, 2013, 5:15 pm
I actually think they can and should be faulted. It’s one thing to disagree with Obamacare. But, it’s the law, and they have to respect that. Elections have consequences and all of that. Doesn’t mean they have to like it or that they can’t try to change, alter and work with it. There are ample methods within the system to achieve that goal that don’t shut down the government. Like, for instance, the initial bill passing process; efforts to repeal a law via usual Congressional process; going to the Supreme Court if they think it’s unconstitutional; and making your presidential platform about repealing said law. Republicans tried all of them and they lost. Time to accept that and move on to doing other essential things for the country. Like budgeting, for instance. Refusing to govern unless you get what you want is a bastardization of the process that does great harm to us all.
theattack September 30, 2013, 3:47 pm
My understanding of it is that the fight is mostly over Obamacare, so the government shut down is practically coercion to change Obamacare. Like it places the whole thing up in the air more. If the Senate gives in on the changes House Republicans are proposing in order to avoid the shut down or to end the shut down, then it would. I think…
Miss MJ September 30, 2013, 3:54 pm
Oops! I was posting when you did.
theattack September 30, 2013, 3:56 pm
Your explanation was a lot better than mine anyway! 🙂
GatorGirl September 30, 2013, 3:58 pm
I wasn’t trying to be snarky or imply I’m above the situation or something…I’m geniunly trying to understand the implications. The 10 ways article implied it wasn’t a big deal. Reading through the Washington Post article, it seemed that pretty much every government agency would be functioning at least at a reduced rate. The addition of that clause is ridiculous, I completely agree.
I would really like to understand what a government shut down means, reading these articles is clearly not helping.
theattack September 30, 2013, 4:02 pm
The primary things that we as non-federal employee civilians see in our lives will not be affected. Although National Defense is still required to work, they’re not getting paid until the government is back in business. My military friends who live on bases are talking about the base grocery stores shutting down and having to drive over an hour to get anything at all, which they probably won’t be able to afford after awhile either way if they’re not getting paid. I’m assuming people like government scientists and researchers will be shut down without pay for a while too, but I don’t know for sure. It does mostly affect government employees, but the cost of a shutdown is apparently quite high to taxpayers too, but I don’t understand why yet.
theattack September 30, 2013, 4:06 pm
And I guess if military members aren’t getting paid, neither is my husband, so I guess I am affected after all. They won’t be able to pay their bills, which means he won’t get payment for his work on their cases for awhile. It will come around that way in our economy for sure.
GatorGirl September 30, 2013, 4:14 pm
🙁 Well I hope they get their shit together for you and Christy (and the other DW gov workers).
I too read that tax payers end up with a huge burden, but can’t figure out why or find anything that really explains it in a way I understand.
theattack September 30, 2013, 4:17 pm
Thanks. We’ll be fine because it’s just part of our income. Full on federal employees are in actual trouble though. 🙁 I hope everything is okay for Christy too!
Christy September 30, 2013, 5:30 pm
Thanks y’all. Like Chrissi below, I have savings; I’ll make it. It’s just frustrating that I’m gonna have to spend my savings on basics like rent. I can last for three months at my basic spending rate, so I’ll outlast Congress unless they REALLY screw up.
starpattern September 30, 2013, 5:36 pm
On the cost of the shutdown, there are a lot of elements that I don’t understand, but there are massive amounts of resources devoted to planning for and executing the shutdown. Even just paying people to re-calculate payroll deductions for taxes, health insurance, etc. for partial pay periods is apparently a huge expense. Shutting down servers and supercomputers safely would be another one. The list goes on, but basically, the way I understand it, it’s because we’re paying for a bunch of time spent planning/shutting down and then starting back up, which gives no real value back to the tax payers.
theattack September 30, 2013, 5:49 pm
Interesting. Thanks for explaining!
dabbler September 30, 2013, 5:04 pm
Part of it is that if the government employees aren’t getting paid, we have no money to spend, which hurts local businesses. Particularly where I live and work in the DC area, where a relatively high concentration of us are government employeed.
For example, the deli accross the street does a high percentage of its business based off of the lunch crowed from my work. The government (funny side note – government auto corrected to “own enemy”. Ha.) shuts down, and that deli loses say 80% of its business. (I made that number up, so I have no idea how accurate it is, just throwing something out there.) Now the deli can’t pay it’s rent, their employees, their suppliers, etc. Everyone takes a hit.
Other parts of the country will probably be less affected, but a prolonged shutdown here could get pretty ugly.
Miel September 30, 2013, 6:39 pm
My boyfriend is working for NASA and they are getting shut down. He’s staying at work late tonight, because they need to figure out what to do tomorrow and in the following days. He might be called for an emergency though if some troubles happen on the International Space Station. I don’t think they had a good day today…
starpattern October 1, 2013, 8:51 am
I work for NASA also. I feel for the ISS folks…
Fabelle September 30, 2013, 4:08 pm
The most worrying thing to me in the “10 Things” article is the last (first) one, describing the effect on public psyche & national opinion (“To watch elected lawmakers engage in a high-stakes staring contest with no one willing to blink is no way to do business”). America is supposed to be one of the most powerful countries, yet we cannot get our shit together. Our shit is unraveling in front of everybody, & that’s very Not Good for a multitude of reasons.
kerrycontrary September 30, 2013, 4:55 pm
GG one way it affects you—If 800,000 people don’t get paid, starting tomorrow, you can bet it’s going to affect the economy.
Not only will they have less money for essential things like rent, groceries, etc…Housing loans will be on hold (which is HUGE), people who were going to purchase international airline tickets with their passport that is currently being processed? Not happening
I’m not sure if some of the buses will be running in DC. I heard the trash MIGHT be taken care of? I mean you’re taking away the livelihood of a ton of people in America’s capital (which is a big city). It’s a big deal.
Lindsay September 30, 2013, 5:12 pm
I agree that it’s a big deal, but when stuff like this happens, it very, very rarely lasts for very long at all. Obviously, any day that a person doesn’t get paid is bad (and the legislators SHOULD see this with urgency), but every time the feds or a state government gets to this point, it usually doesn’t result in most of the problems that the media starts predicting.
Buses will still run. I guess I don’t know much about D.C., but does it have a local government? I assume most things like trash, transit, etc., would be under a local government and not the federal government.
kerrycontrary September 30, 2013, 5:20 pm
No, DC is different. Some of the buses/trash/maintenace is run by the federal govt. It’s a really weird jurisdiction. I agree that this is all probably a big show and won’t come to fruition but locally it affects us a lot more than other people in the country.
portia September 30, 2013, 9:10 pm
DC is different, since it doesn’t have statehood or even budget autonomy (literally the city’s budget has to be passed by Congress). It has a mayor and some local government officials, but apparently basic services will be slowed down or stopped altogether. They passed a budget autonomy referendum back in the last election and I think this can only help the case for that.
Wendy September 30, 2013, 4:08 pm
I know. And my understanding is shaky at best, but I wanted to illustrate that this really is a bigger deal than a few federal agencies closing for a few days.
tbrucemom September 30, 2013, 4:01 pm
Every employer’s insurance coverage I’ve ever had, long before Obamacare, has covered pre-existing conditions. Why would a new employer be responsible to cover my ELECTIVE pregnancy anyway? It’s not a disease, it’s a personal choice.
Miss MJ September 30, 2013, 4:09 pm
There’s a difference between employer group plans and individual plans. The employer group plans have more bargaining power (or whatever) so they can get pre-existing conditions covered. Most individuals could not.
tbrucemom September 30, 2013, 4:16 pm
I understand that, but Wendy’s comments specifically stated employer’s coverage.
Gwen Soul October 1, 2013, 9:39 am
Most employer plans will only cover preexisting conditions if you had previous non interrupted coverage beforehand. My husband recently had to send in a certificate of credible coverage from some shoulder pain to show that he has previous insurance and this was a qualified preexisting condition. That is one of the reasons COBRA is so important for families with sick members, if there is a gap they may not be able to get those members covered again without paying huge premiums.
iwannatalktosampson September 30, 2013, 4:48 pm
Oh god my dad is definitely one of those people who thinks that employers and the government are under no obligation to cover pregnancy since it is “elective”. I don’t necessarily disagree but the way I see if they should either have to pay for birth control or pregnancy because the latter will happen without the former, so they can’t really have their cake and eat it too. I personally would rather they cover birth control than pregnancy, but that’s just me.
iwannatalktosampson September 30, 2013, 4:50 pm
Okay I didn’t word that very well. If everyone has access to free birth control then pregnancy truly is a choice and shouldn’t be covered because it is not a “medical issue” it is a lifestyle choice. BUT if you don’t cover birth control then pregnancy is inevitable. (You could technically argue that it is still a lifestyle choice because people can still choose to abstain – but I’m taking the more reasonable approach which is that people like to bang)
theattack September 30, 2013, 4:55 pm
That’s a reasonable set up for sure, but I prefer that everyone can afford to have children and not just people with money. It is a basic biological imperative even if it is optional. If we did only have birth control covered though, I would also want abortion covered.
Nadine September 30, 2013, 5:17 pm
Yeah, it freaks me out that people think its irresponsible to have children and also not be rich/middle class. I do think creating the family of your choice should be a human right (obviously barring instances of abuse/neglect etc.) and the state of paying for healthcare seems to be a huge obstacle.
A friend of mines wife just gave birth (here in London) and the whole thing – pre-natal classes, check ups, sonograms, birth, aftercare – cost them the price of parking at the hospital. Thats how it should be done, in my opinion.
tbrucemom October 1, 2013, 10:08 am
The reason her pregnancy cost the price of a parking ticket is because European countries who have socialized medicine on average have a 70% tax rate.
Nadine October 1, 2013, 10:15 am
I cant reply to you for some reason, but I will always support high taxes over high cost of living. Its practical.
othy October 1, 2013, 10:15 am
Just out of curiosity, where do you source your 70% tax rate from? I’ve never heard of one that high for the overall tax rate in socialized health care countries. I’ve generally heard in the 40-50% range, which *also* includes many other benefits, like free college tuition (in Finland, they actually pay you to go to school), year long maternity/paternity leave, etc. etc.
Sue Jones September 30, 2013, 7:59 pm
Most private health insurance requires that you purchase a “pregnancy rider” if you plan to get pregnant. And you can only purchase it when you first buy the insurance, not the year you need it. So I never had it. We ended up having a homebirth which we paid for ourselves out of pocket and the insurance only would have covered an emergency C-section. That is such a crock of shit. Luckily it all went perfectly and we had our boy at home and paid the midwife $2000 or $3000. But if there had been a complication, we would have had to pay. Ironically, some women in my birth class had Medicaid or were uninsured in which Medicaid paid for everything. We really need to do better than this! Not everyone wants or can have a homebirth!
landygirl September 30, 2013, 6:14 pm
The President said that the ACA is starting tomorrow despite what happens today.
Rebecca October 1, 2013, 10:51 am
While I appreciate many of the things that the ACA has done, I have to disagree with anyone that thinks that it’s a necessary or good thing. There are only a few pieces in it that truly get to the heart of our medical system’s problem. Most of it really is an entitlement program that will end up costing the average taxpayer and family MORE, according to the latest findings.
I think it SHOULD be defunded, and they should have to start over. Preferably with something they’re required to read before they pass it.
The GOP got rid of the stipulation to defund the ACA, and the President and the Dems still wouldn’t compromise. Ugh… this is why I’m a registered Libertarian!
Also, as a woman that just had a baby with my employer-assisted insurance, there was almost no effect on my cost, and certainly not on my quality of care. And that’s the same story for the, what, 85%? of Americans that are either covered by insurance or Medicare/Medicaid. So yes, it should be ripped out by the seams, and they should start over… by fixing the PROBLEM, not forcing people to buy into a broken system at other people’s expense.
iwannatalktosampson October 1, 2013, 11:23 am
Don’t speak logic. Those 5 people that actually read the ACA are probably BRILLIANT. 🙂
Kate B. September 30, 2013, 4:36 pm
I read this article this morning and I found it helpful: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/30/politics/government-shutdown-up-to-speed/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
GatorGirl October 1, 2013, 8:24 am
That was really helpful, thanks!
Fabelle September 30, 2013, 3:29 pm
Yeah, the intricacies of this whole deal is lost on me, honestly. I just want them to come to some kind of an agreement, any kind of an agreement, in order to prevent the shutdown.
Fabelle September 30, 2013, 3:36 pm
This breakdown was fairly readable also:
Sue Jones September 30, 2013, 3:46 pm
I was looking forward to getting my husband, who has many pre-existing conditions on Obamacare as well as my stepson who is mentally ill and currently on a high risk state run insurance that is about to end. This just sucks. I hope the voting public remembers all this and it turns around and bites the Republicans on the ass come next several elections. Remember, Republicans get sick and have pre-existing conditions too! They seem to think they are immune to all of this nonsense!
Miss MJ September 30, 2013, 3:57 pm
According to this, the healthcare exchanges and other provisions of the health care act will launch tomorrow, shutdown or not.
Christy September 30, 2013, 3:48 pm
Sigh. I’m packing up my desk to make sure I take everything home. Should I leave my bananas out? Ponder, ponder, ponder.
Also, don’t watch the livestream. It’s infuriating.
Banana September 30, 2013, 3:52 pm
If you want to blow off steam there’s a folk dance at Pour House tonight at 8pm. I really hope you come out of this okay. I’m in the private sector but a ton of my friends are in your position right now and it just fucking sucks. Wendy’s right that there’s the health care dimension (this effects everyone in that it’s a fight over Obamacare) but on top of that, there’s also the tens of thousands of federal employees whose paycheck is on the line for however long Congress takes to sort it out.
Christy September 30, 2013, 5:08 pm
Nah, I’m not going into DC until I’m being paid to be there. If I still lived on the Hill, I’d go out tonight, but I’m not gonna drive in from the suburbs. Thanks for the invite, though! Maybe if I’m out of work for a while, we DCers can get together.
Banana September 30, 2013, 5:29 pm
Ah, I didn’t realize you lived in the burbs! Yes, if you wind up with some time on your hands, we could do a DC Furloughed Meet Up. If you’re down a paycheck for a while, I’d love to host you + gf for dinner — every little bit counts!
Christy September 30, 2013, 5:33 pm
Thanks! I’m barely across the line, but trust me, it feels like the burbs up here. (And I love it like that!) I’ll keep your invite in mind in case this is a long shutdown.
Jessibel September 30, 2013, 10:04 pm
I’d hang for a furlough meet up! Christy, isn’t there an option where Federal workers can put in a claim for lost wages afterwards? I know a few of my fed friends were able to put in claims for their lost wages during sequestration.
Christy September 30, 2013, 10:14 pm
Every time in the past when the government has been shut down, federal employees have gotten back-wages. We were never told about putting claims in for lost wages for the sequestration. Luckily we were only furloughed 3 days for the sequester. Who knows how long we’ll be shut down now.
othy October 1, 2013, 10:03 am
Inquiring minds want to know – did you leave your bananas out?
Christy October 1, 2013, 7:30 pm
LOL I gave them away to my coworkers. Thank goodness, because I only eat bananas with oatmeal, and I only eat oatmeal at work. I wish I hadn’t bought milk and yogurt, though. They’re refrigerated but might go bad, depending on how long this lasts.
vizslalvr September 30, 2013, 3:55 pm
My (married) co-workers had a vacation planned at a national park starting on Sunday, and the male just realized that they might have to cancel this afternoon. He was so bummed, and I felt so bad for him!
mylaray September 30, 2013, 4:03 pm
I have tried to stay far away from politics as much as possible lately because it’s hard for me care anyone either way. But it infuriates me that healthcare is still a mess and it would affect my fiancé and I if Obamacare were to be reversed. We’ve been waiting for the day for the pre-existing condition reversal, as he (well we) pay an absurd amount for him to be covered, and he could be dropped from his insurance at any time (and in 3 years together it has happened twice). And to think that the reversal might not happen or get delayed again is frustrating. Affording medication that costs over $1200 a day to keep him alive and well is out of the question, yet for some reason denying coverage or charging absurd fees for pre-existing conditions is a-okay. I’m so frustrated I don’t know what to think. It makes me angry. In some ways, politicians like those conservatives that want to be knee deep in our healthcare make me want the government to stay out of it, though I do hope Obamacare stays in place, as I think it will get better with time.
I wish it didn’t have to come to a shutdown thought, and I really hope Obamacare does not get repealed as a result.
shanshantastic September 30, 2013, 4:28 pm
I wouldn’t worry about the ACA* being repealed. Everything I’ve read suggests (and with good reason) that either A: the shutdown will be averted in the 11th hour or B: it will only last for a couple of days before the GOP is forced to capitulate. It will suck in the meantime, for sure.
I can’t say any more than that; I have a background in politics and it makes me sick.
*But but but…I call it the ACA and not Obamacare just because of the negative connotations of the latter. I’ve written SO MUCH about it in the last two weeks and that’s my one hard-and-fast rule.
mylaray September 30, 2013, 5:52 pm
I know it’s called the ACA, but I usually avoid that since that acronym has another meaning for me and I get confused between the two, plus I personally prefer Obamacare since it is under his presidency and I don’t think it has to be a negative term. I hate to be cynical, but I don’t put much past politicians these days. Between the exceptions for free birth control and the exceptions for religious companies paying for birth control, and delaying the pre-existing condition reversal, I don’t believe anything until it actually happens, and I guess it wouldn’t surprise me if conservatives got something their way that would greatly affect a lot of people negatively.
the_optimist October 1, 2013, 9:50 am
Also it should be noted that the Obama administration has taken to calling the ACA Obamacare, in an attempt to reverse any negative connotations associated with it (and presumably make it more obvious that the act was a legacy of his presidency).
Kate B. September 30, 2013, 4:28 pm
I personally think all of Congress should be declared “non-essential” personnel and furloughed. The end result would be the same. Shit still wouldn’t get done.
Guy Friday September 30, 2013, 9:08 pm
True, but then how would we restart? If they’re not there, they can’t negotiate
(Yeah, I know you were speaking tongue-in-cheek 😛 )
Kate B. September 30, 2013, 10:22 pm
Only partly. If I behaved this way at my job, I’d be fired. They should all be replaced.
othy October 1, 2013, 10:05 am
Sadly, everyone says “well, it’s all of the other congressmen, not *my* congressman.” Or people forget about this fiasco when it comes time to vote (it’s still over a year before we vote them out, and we’ll all have forgotten this by then). And then nothing ever changes.
Kate B. October 1, 2013, 10:29 am
Yeah, there are no consequences. There should be. I watched with interest the moderate Republican “revolt” wither and die on the vine because some Congressmen won’t grow a pair. I noticed the Google doodle today is all about Yosemite’s anniversary. Too bad no one will get to go there today.
starpattern September 30, 2013, 4:39 pm
I’m a federal employee and this is my first time dealing with an imminent shutdown. Let’s just say I’m doing a lot of deep breathing today, haha. I’m having a hard time concentrating on the political ramifications because, being a huge worry-wart, I’m thinking about the possibility of obliterating my savings, my projects potentially slipping schedule to the point they could be canceled, and people I know who are in precarious financial situations. Aagh.
Anyway, I encourage everyone to pick up the phone and call your Congresspeople to let them know how you feel about ACA and the shutdown. There’s a slight chance they may actually listen 🙂
Chrissi September 30, 2013, 5:18 pm
I’m in the same boat. I made sure I had a decent savings account after the first almost-shut-down, but I kind of keep obsessively running the numbers to figure out how long I can go without not paying some bills. I don’t have a problem with Congress being paid eventually. But if the employees that are non-essential (furloughed) AND the employees that ARE essential (not furloughed) don’t get their paychecks during a shutdown, neither should Congress. They should be in the same boat as the essential personnel where they have to go to work without a paycheck coming in (with the understanding that they will be paid once the budget is passed).
I will not be thrilled if I have to spend my hard-fought savings on a furlough (i.e. they don’t give us back-pay)
starpattern September 30, 2013, 5:42 pm
Yes, I hear you on the savings thing. I also keep an emergency fund that will carry me through a few months, but I resent the possibility of having to blow through it simply because Congress is incompetent. So frustrating.
starpattern October 1, 2013, 9:44 am
Sooo I’m sitting at my office waiting for the official furlough notice, which hasn’t arrived yet and it is quarter to nine local time. Boo.
theattack October 1, 2013, 10:05 am
Starpattern, I just realized that you work with one of my best friends’ dads, and I know you work with a boyfriend of someone on DW too. By “work with” I obviously mean at the same place and you all probably don’t know each other, but cool either way!
starpattern October 1, 2013, 10:11 am
Cool! If your friend’s dad is in Huntsville, I may have run into him around the center 🙂 The industry (at least in my neck of the woods) is a surprisingly small world.
theattack October 1, 2013, 10:33 am
Oh really? Yes, I was referring to Huntsville. He commutes from my home town to Huntsville for work. I always assumed NASA was a big place. Also I drove through Huntsville a couple of times recently and thought of you. That might be creepy since we don’t know each other that well, but I’m excited to have another DWer close by!
starpattern October 1, 2013, 5:27 pm
It’s not creepy! I knew you are from TN but didn’t realize you are so close to Huntsville. Let me know next time you’re near here if you’d like to grab a drink!
othy October 1, 2013, 10:06 am
Good luck being stuck in limbo.
starpattern October 1, 2013, 10:11 am
Bunnycsp September 30, 2013, 4:50 pm
Everyone here should email their congressperson. You should do it right now. It is the house that is holding up the bill, not the senate. If you don’t like this, right an email.
Bunnycsp September 30, 2013, 4:57 pm
kerrycontrary September 30, 2013, 5:06 pm
Yes! Thank you! And in the future, don’t vote these bozos back into their jobs. That is one of the only bargaining chips we have. And protesting. What happened to good old protesting?
Julia September 30, 2013, 4:58 pm
Guys, do we know if Metro will run in the event of a shutdown? I am a fed but will be working through the shutdown if it happens, so I will still need to get to work somehow.
Lindsay September 30, 2013, 5:04 pm
Yep, I read that it’ll stay open. They said that they might shorten some trains (like with fewer cars) if there’s not as much demand because people aren’t going to work, but it’ll still be running.
Julia September 30, 2013, 5:05 pm
Heh, ok, never mind. WMATA says Metro stays open with the option to send out shorter trains if ridership drops.
kerrycontrary September 30, 2013, 5:13 pm
Yeh I think metro is run by all 3 jurisdictions, so MD and VA wouldn’t let it shut down. I heard the Circulator would stop running.
Christy September 30, 2013, 5:12 pm
Oh, and thanks, Wendy, for having an open blog for this. I really appreciate it!
TaraMonster September 30, 2013, 6:13 pm
Wtf. I’m abroad on vacation right now! Here in Germany they think we’re fucking batshit. Thanks Tea Party, for making us look nutso internationally. It’s super cool. Also, flying stand by home. So I might get stuck here. Fuck.
We’re a fucking laughing stock globally. This is just superb.
TaraMonster September 30, 2013, 6:25 pm
Just an interesting side note: a couple friends and I got in an interesting conversationa few days before this whole craziness went down with a German fellow on a high speed train. The crux of it was why socialized health care is important. My American friend asked the German guy why they’re doing so well as a people. He said it’s because they “invest” in their people (ie assuring that health care is not a primar concern means people are free to invest their energy and resources elsewhere, like education and innovation)… Anyway my friend said he’d never heard of us arguing about it as an “investment” (I disagreed since I make this argument constantly), but I jumped on the point. And I feel this issue only highlights that. Look how much energy is going into just shutting the program down! It’s crazy to me! I don’t think the ACA is perfect, but this degree of political infighting is maddening and such a waste of time! Come on, USA! Get it together!
landygirl September 30, 2013, 7:05 pm
Germany has high taxes but they also take very good care of their citizens.
Miel September 30, 2013, 7:32 pm
Germany as a whole just seems very “smart” in the way they build things. You rarely find something (that can be a physical building or a government program) that makes no sense and worsen a given situation by trying to improve it.
I actually spent most of my time in Germany looking around me and saying “But this makes so much sense !”. Germans thought I was weird.
Addie Pray September 30, 2013, 7:45 pm
I saw Inequality for All this weekend and they talked about that – how we don’t invest in our people; how other cultures prioritize health care and free/affordable higher education; … they were assessing which countries benefited $$ from apple sales, and Germany benefited more than the USA. They build shit better. Because our workforce isn’t as skilled.
I’m so annoyed with so many things right now: men, dating, work, the growing income gap (this documentary was awesome, people), the government shutdown, the fact that i meant to buy sharp cheddar at the store but in my haste grabbed mild instead – not sure if I can tell the difference but I’m pissed. Don’t even get me started on my cable provider.
You know what? I want to sell my condo; move in with friends for two years; live frugally; save up a 1/2 a million dollars in cash; and then I want to move to upstate somewhere and have babies and teach math, coach a math team, coach a debate team, and rely on netflix for TV forever. This is bullshit.
AliceInDairyland September 30, 2013, 11:39 pm
I love this plan!! Come to Wisconsin!! Teach my babies math on the farm using fruits and veggies… We only have netflix and no TV….
GatorGirl October 1, 2013, 9:05 am
Seriously Alice, I want to come live on the farm!!
bethany October 1, 2013, 9:31 am
I agree. I want to save as much money as I can and then just do whatever the fuck I want.
John Rohan September 30, 2013, 9:25 pm
Germany has their own problems though. Their national debt is actually higher than the USA, if you look at it as a percentage of GDP output. The only reason why their economy looks healthy is by comparison, because they are surrounded by European countries that are in dire economic crisis.
And I say that as someone who was born there and loves the country.
Addie Pray September 30, 2013, 9:41 pm
Well, they are smarter, happier, healthier and living longer. Isn’t that the point? I feel like people forgot what the goal in life should be. I think it should be those things. And the US is a big failure. We narrowly beat out third world countries in those areas. Republicans seem more concerned about – what I’m not sure. Their guns and meddling in the affairs of women’s bodies. Sorry I’m not sorry. (Ode to iwanna)
John Rohan October 1, 2013, 1:49 pm
I’ve lived in Germany many years, off and on. Not sure what you base “smarter, happier & healthier” on, but you could probably pull up surveys that show it both ways. Healthier, I’ll give you that. There are noticeably fewer obese Germans than Americans (although they have their share). But ethnic minorities live in their enclaves and aren’t integrated nearly like they are in the US. And homes & apartments are so small. In the USA, a middle class family can live in a 2000 sq ft home, with a pool and a big backyard. In Germany, only millionaires live like that.
I love the country, but it’s not better, it’s just different.
Cara October 1, 2013, 5:10 am
That’s okay for me, considering I have healthcare and don’t pay for uni.
That aside, for sure we have problems and with th recent election results shit will not get done!
In other news, if anyone is going to Oktoberfest next week, let’s meet!
TaraMonster October 1, 2013, 5:00 pm
I just left the Oktoberfest yesterday. 🙁
Daisy October 1, 2013, 10:36 am
Just wanted to add that I live in a country with socialized medicine and it is FABULOUS! I have a chronic condition and pay about $70 dollars/month for medicines that cost me over $1000/month when I lived in the US. And every month when I get my prescriptions filled, the pharmacist literally apologizes to me that it’s so expensive!
Then again, maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better because so many other aspects of living in Israel are totally messed up!
John Rohan September 30, 2013, 9:20 pm
A lot of Republican bashing in this thread. I don’t agree with their tactics either, but I understand the frustration. Just look at how the national debt is exploding:
And if you think this is bad, wait until next month, when they have to vote to raise the debt limit (again!).
BTW, I’m in the military, so this affects me too.
MMcG September 30, 2013, 10:15 pm
How are you not supposed to bash a segment of a political party that is fundamentally not doing its job? The most important role of Congress per the Constitution is to draft, authorize and appropriate money every year for the federal government – and they have failed time and again and dont seem to understand that legislating is more that just say no. At a certain point… say after 42 votes to repeal the ACA… it would be nice if they could do their job. I mean government healthcare – which the ACA is not… can’t be so bad or they would all be refusing their GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE FOR LIFE which is what they get when they retire. Hypocrites.
You want to do something about healthcare? Come up with an alternative. .. oh wait you don’t have one bc the ACA is built on Heritage Foundation Republican free market principles. You want to get paid to represent people? Draft a fucking law instead of talking points for your next teaparty parade.
iwannatalktosampson September 30, 2013, 11:31 pm
It’s so nice to see people able to discuss politics in such a rational manner
MMcG September 30, 2013, 10:21 pm
Oh and BTW nice graph. Too bad it doesnt take into account the percentage of GDP because then its a different picture. Not great, but still a different look. too bad the shutdown will ADD to the national debt and then these fools can mess with the debt ceiling again… which is an even bigger disaster. Congress already spent the $ and now won’t pay the bill. idiots!!
tbrucemom October 1, 2013, 10:13 am
Thank you John for the words of wisdom.
Sunshine Brite September 30, 2013, 10:53 pm
Gah, I didn’t even know that was this close. I hate this. The MN one was infuriating enough. I was there as all of my coworkers at the county level got letters that they might be shutdown and I was wondering if i’d be able to finish my internship hours. Last time they’d been deemed critical but who knew that time. I don’t even want to think how this will ripple out throughout the country.
katie October 1, 2013, 7:58 am
soooo… it happened, yea? this sucks. our world is so shitty.
Fabelle October 1, 2013, 8:17 am
yeah 🙁 I can’t handle this; government shutdown AND DW shutdown on the same day? (Sorry I have to joke to keep from wailing in frustration)
katie October 1, 2013, 8:23 am
ha, good one! thats funny.
fire em all i say, im done. literally get rid of everyone. (the government, not DW.)
Christy October 1, 2013, 8:45 am
OH NO I JUST REALIZED THIS IS THE WORST OF ALL DAYS. FABELLE WHY YOU GOTTA DO ME LIKE THAT?!
katie October 1, 2013, 8:47 am
what ended up happening for you? are you “off” today?
Christy October 1, 2013, 9:08 am
Yup. Sitting around gf’s apartment, waiting for my already-scheduled therapy appointment.
katie October 1, 2013, 9:15 am
terrible. that sucks, im so sorry!
GatorGirl October 1, 2013, 10:22 am
Hey one positive thing…hockey is back!
Christy October 1, 2013, 7:30 pm
lol, yup, I called today so we could watch the game on NBC Sports Network.
JK October 1, 2013, 8:34 am
Maybe it´s for not living there, but I just don´t get it! How can 800 000 people be left without pay, when congress and Obama will still be paid?
People complain about politics here (with reason sometimes) but I have never heard of anything like this happening.
JK October 1, 2013, 8:39 am
Not to mention that if anything like that did happen in a lot of other countries there would be hell to pay!
katie October 1, 2013, 8:46 am
eh, i guess its pretty easy? this is like the rich popular kids at school making trouble just for the sake of doing it. it doesnt effect them, literally at all, they just do it to prove a point or because they can or something.
Jessibel5 October 1, 2013, 11:52 am
So, I heard some Republican representative today on the radio saying that he was going to donate his entire salary during the shutdown to charity. Which, is nice of him, but…maybe he should donate his salary to his staff that’s being not paid because (as he states) he absolutely refuses to allow a budget bill without defunding the “bill” that is Obamacare. No dear, it’s a law, not a bill anymore.
Christy October 1, 2013, 8:47 am
Did anyone see the shutdown deals for federal employees? There’s a lot of free lunches to be had. http://dcist.com/2013/09/government_shutdown_roundup.php
Also I forgot DW was being shut down today too. My life is over. I guess I’ll have to talk to real people this afternoon. That sounds like the worst.
genevathene October 1, 2013, 12:31 pm
Oh man I love this one:
Pork Barrel BBQ : “Free pulled pork sandwich for any gov employee if there is a shutdown. 1 per day, must have gov ID & EXCLUDES CONGRESSMEN.”
Hang in there!
genevathene October 1, 2013, 12:34 pm
Stuff like this is going to end up in history books someday:
Nando’s Peri-Peri “is crying fowl over the government shutdown. In a special ‘Boneless Chicken, Spineless Congress’ promotion, it is offering a free butterflied Peri-Peri chicken breast to all ‘non-essential’ government employees affected by the shutdown. … To participate in the promotion, government employees should visit the Nando’s Facebook page to redeem the offer. The offer is valid today only for federal government employees with a valid ID. Federal workers, enjoy your delicious, free Peri-Peri chicken at Nando’s! (Members of Congress need not apply.)”
I need to stop reading and chuckling to myself all morning…
Addie Pray October 1, 2013, 8:49 am
I just heard that my brother has to go to work but won’t get paid.
JK October 1, 2013, 8:55 am
That is insane. How can he “have to” go to work if he won´t get paid? Are ther no protests or anything? I really just don´t get it!
Addie Pray October 1, 2013, 9:07 am
well, i don’t know; but he’s an oncologist; … he has sick patients with scheduled treatments….
starpattern October 1, 2013, 9:42 am
My respect and sympathies to your brother and those like him. I am sure his patients are grateful for his continued care. Hopefully this will not last too long.
starpattern October 1, 2013, 9:38 am
I believe I read that exempt employees would be AWOL status if they just stopped showing up to work during shutdown. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.
Technically they will be paid. They just will not process payroll until after Congress passes an appropriations bill.
MMcG October 1, 2013, 12:12 pm
Yep, I’m at work and will not be getting my next paycheck. And I don’t even work for the feds but a DC agency that gets impacted because of the archaic rules that the DC budget must go through Congress. That’s thousands and thousands of teachers and trash collectors and policemen who are working today but can’t get their paycheck even though it’s all local DC taxpayer money. It’s a joke.
FWIW. All essential employees (except military personnel b/c they did fix that yesterday) will get paid after the shutdown… not during it because the money isn’t appropriated. So basically the longer the shutdown lasts the longer essential people work with no pay… and the longer the nonessentials don’t work without pay and with no guarantees of getting it paid back. In past shutdowns that have retroactively paid everyone, not sure if that will work this time.
Christy October 1, 2013, 9:09 am
He’ll get back-pay, at least. That’s the only benefit for him. Plus, you know, saving lives. Sorry it sucks for him, too.
Addie Pray October 1, 2013, 7:48 pm
update: he’s getting paid. i guess navy doctors are essential! cool.
Daisy October 1, 2013, 10:40 am
My fiance and I have been talking a lot about moving to the US for a few years after we get married next spring. But then stuff like this is so infuriating and makes me second-guess myself. I know a government shutdown is a really rare occasion, but like so many of you I’m just sitting here asking myself how something like this can actually happen! Especially the part about Congress still getting paid while it happens.
John Rohan October 1, 2013, 2:11 pm
Unfortunately, it’s not that rare. The US federal government has shut down 18 times since 1976:
Christy October 1, 2013, 7:32 pm
Well, it hasn’t happened since the mid-90s. It was more common in the 70s. And FWIW, it doesn’t matter that Congress is getting paid because they’re all rich enough to absorb their lost wages, anyway. Losing a few weeks pay wouldn’t hurt them.
kmentothat October 1, 2013, 11:48 am
Just a note to those of you who want to write to your congress member, here is a quick way to locate them: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Look up who is representing you and if they are not performing their job duties as you see fit, a. write to them and let them know how you feel , especially those of you who are personally affected and 2. Remember this next election, and if you aren’t registered or don’t regularly do so, VOTE. Happy to see my representative is on the sane side of this shutdown…
GatorGirl October 1, 2013, 11:58 am
My congressman is the cosponsor of the “Defund Obamacare Act of 2013”. Sometimes rural living sucks.
kmentothat October 1, 2013, 12:02 pm
GatorGirl October 1, 2013, 12:07 pm
Yeah, North Central Florida can be a very scary place. I did vote though!
othy October 1, 2013, 12:52 pm
If only my little brother would too. He lives in that area, and can’t be bother to go negate my father’s voting…
othy October 1, 2013, 12:07 pm
One of my senators is Mike Lee. It’s embarrassing. And, for the record, I have never and will never vote for him.
At least my congressman is Jim Matheson, so slightly less embarrassing. I’m just happy I’m not in Jason Chavez’s district.
kmentothat October 1, 2013, 12:33 pm
Not voting for them and specifically showing up to vote against them :).
Funny story, my dad is strangely a Republican (I this because he is a blue collar, Mexican-American union member from California) and I’m as far left as you can go without moving to Europe. We bicker like crazy, and every single election we would go vote together to “cancel out each other’s vote.” Often times we agreed on certain issues, and it was always great to have someone to talk to about things. Now that I live 2,000 miles away, really sad to have to vote without my dad for the first time.
othy October 1, 2013, 12:54 pm
My dad and I have had a ‘standing truce’ since the 2004 elections – meaning we never, ever discuss politics. Ever. I’ll hang up on him if he tries to bring it up. It’s better for our relationship that way.
However, we do encourage each other to vote, no matter how much we may disagree.
Miel October 1, 2013, 8:58 pm
My boyfriend (jokingly) says he doesn’t want me to become a US citizen so I don’t begin to cancel his vote. Part of me hope we’ll just live in a blue state anyway…
mandalee October 1, 2013, 12:21 pm
The congress members that represent me are thankfully sane (yay Massachusetts). However, after looking it up I was reminded that every single Congress person from Massachusetts are Democrats right now. It made me think back to a segment on our local NPR station last November about how people were calling in after the election and saying how they *would* have voted for a Republican vs a Democrat in the election (lots of Registered Independents in MA) , but they were so scared of the actions of the National Republican Party that they didn’t. So, the very sharp rhetoric and divide at the national level really affects voting within districts back home, which just funnels this stale, do-nothing government.
John Rohan October 1, 2013, 2:15 pm
Actually, when Scott Brown lost to Elizabeth Warren in your last Senate race, it sent a strong message that even an extremely moderate, pro-choice Republican can’t win in Massachusetts.
If you like your Democratic candidates, then great. But I don’t think it’s healthy to have only one party in power forever, like Ted Kennedy’s seat for life.
MMcG October 1, 2013, 12:26 pm
I am a DC resident who is being severely impacted by those jerks and I don’t even have a voting representative to call. LOVE THE FEDERAL COLONY 🙁
Megustalaplaya October 1, 2013, 10:20 pm
So I’m obviously late to the party (disclaimer-was lazy and only skimmed the comments above), but I just have to say, this business about the government shutting down makes my blood boil. Honestly, it’s a disgrace. I get my middle school students to work with each other, telling them all the while that “learning to work with someone you don’t like is an adult life skill you’ll need,” and our elected representatives can’t get it together and do their jobs for the good of the people they’re working for? I think what they need is a group of no-nonsense teachers to go up in there and be all “No bathroom passes until you’ve completed x amount of work” “no you may not switch groups, you need to learn how to get along with different people” and “i’m sorry, that’s not how we do things in my classroom-you need to follow all behavioral expectations, or you will suffer the consequences.”
I just can’t abide the sheer stubbornness and willful, inconsiderate BS.
Ok, end rant.
Boo Radley October 3, 2013, 1:27 pm
The budget impasse is rooted in fundamental differences in the belief about how government should work. Some think government should stay out of citizens’ lives as much as possible. Others think that government should do as much for the citizens as possible.
Some have a fundamental distrust of government’s abilities to do anything correctly or adequately. Obamacare , according to Harry Reid, is a step toward a single-pay system ). Conservatives simply do not believe that government can provide adequate health care. They refer to the post office or the state-run DMV office. Others believe that government will get the whole healthcare thing right, that this time, it will be efficient, fair, and adequate.
Conservatives think it will be more like “Cash for Clunkers.” According to my sister (who is the Controller of a large auto dealership and meets bi-monthly with other dealer controllers), that program was a clusterf*** for the poor folks who had to provide the service. There were bad websites, overly-complicated paperwork, random rejections, and long, long-delayed payments.
Will Obamacare really be better? It’s hard for conservatives to share the conviction that, this time, we’ll get it right.