The big shutdown

US Capitol building



So the recent big news is that the US government has partially ‘ceased’ to operate.

Now we all know the dysfunction going on with the authorities. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has, for umpteenth times, engaged in debates with Democrat-controlled House of Senate, and things show no signs of abating. And it does still involve the same ‘huge’ thing already reiterated in past debates: Obamacare. And thanks to each side’s persistent cantankerousness, nearly 800,000 state employees are now put on unpaid holiday, leaving their fate in the future deeply insecure.

But do we, particularly non-Americans (and I’m an Indonesian, indeed, with as yet so little background about all these falling-outs), actually have even the foggiest ideas about the recent shutdown?

The Guardian has recently released a guideline for non-American readers (especially me) to gain clear insight about this recent occurrence. Be ready for slight confusion.

Here are a bit excerpts you may want to preview:


Why couldn’t they agree a deal?

Under the US constitution, the president cannot unilaterally bring in legislation. And despite weeks of talks, Republicans continue to include cuts and delays to Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act in the budget legislation they sent up to the Senate.

The House of Representatives is controlled by the Republican Party, whose Tea Party movement remain deeply opposed to Obamacare. They tried to use the budget as leverage to crowbar changes to the Act. The Senate, which is under the control of Obama’s Democrats, has stood firm.

Will the shutdown mean the entire US government grinds to a halt?

No, it’s not an anarchist’s (or libertarian’s?) dream. Essential services, such as social security and Medicare payments, will continue. 
The US military service will keep operating, and Obama signed emergency legislation on Monday night to keep paying staff. But hundreds of thousands of workers at non-essential services, from Pentagon employees to rangers in national parks, will be told to take an unpaid holiday.

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