At midnight, non-essential programs in the Government officially shut down, due to a failure of the US House and Senate to reach an agreement on a Budget plan in time. The ‘shutdown’ would span from the closing of National Parks to hindering children from getting school meals and inhibiting new applicants for SNAP (food stamps), according to some lawmakers.
The Senate stripped-out provisions in the budget plan defunding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last week, before the House rejected it Friday. On Saturday night, the House approved amendments to the bill that would delay ACA for a year and would take-away a medical device tax that was part of ACA. They also approved a plan to fund military pay in the event of a government shutdown. DeLauro called House Republican’s bid to involve the ACA in the budget discussion a “hostages crisis” claiming they are saying “Kill the Affordable Care Act, or the American people gets it.”
On Monday, the Senate rejected the House’s plan, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid advocated to strip-away the amendments to delay ACA and the medical device tax. He and the Senate also approved military pay in the event of a shutdown. The new plan also refuses health care subsidies to lawmakers, as well as their staff. Several Republican lawmakers declared this to be unfair, saying it was “illegal” and did not treat everyone fairly.
The Senate then sent a bill to the House to continue government funding, without specific policy issues mentioned, until November 15. House Speaker Boehner, however, rejected this bill, and did not put the bill on the floor to vote in the House. Representative Hollen asked why Speaker Boehner refused to vote on the clean spending bill put forward by the Senate, asking “Why don’t you just pass Senator Cruz the gavel, and let him run the House?”
Senate Democrats mentioned Republican rebellion against Social Security and Medicare in the 1930s, which according to them was similar to the hatred of Obamacare, even though now most Republicans back both of these programs.
“The federal workers have gone through a lot”, Senator Cardin of Maryland added, claiming some workers will be asked to work, not knowing if they will get a pay check, and said a shut down will cost the country valuable resources, and hurt the economy. He also said lawmakers need to move forward to a position where health care is “a right not a privilege” and noted America is the only highly industrialized nation not to do this.
A new plan put forward in the House would delay the Health Care tax (for individuals who can afford Health Care but do not get it) for one year, and would put lawmakers under the same treatment of the ACA as everyone else. “A shutdown will help no one.” Representative Rogers of Kentucky said, “No one is going to like everything in this bill, I don’t like everything in this bill.” This bill was approved in the House, and then was passed to the Senate, which then killed the amendments made, and sent it back to the House.