There is a lot of conversation this morning about what happened last night in Washington, what is happening today and what will continue to happen as a result of the government shutdown. Between the partisan politics and complexity of shutdown measures and consequences, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with what this could mean for Americans. Thanks to USA Today, I have summarized the top five questions I have been getting about what is going on and the” Reader’s Digest” way of explaining it.
“1. Why is this happening now? The government runs on a fiscal year from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Shutdowns can happen at other times of the year when Congress passes a partial-year spending bill.
2. Why can’t Congress agree? The Republican-controlled House has passed a spending bill that maintains spending levels but does not provide funding to implement the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The Democratic Senate insists that the program be fully funded and that Congress pass what they call a “clean” CR.
3. Would a shutdown put the brakes on implementing the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare? No. The state-run exchanges for the uninsured would open as scheduled Tuesday. “The marketplaces will be open on Tuesday, no matter what, even if there is a government shutdown,” President Obama said Friday.
4. What effect would a shutdown have on the economy? Economists say even a short shutdown — of three or four days — would begin to shave decimal points off economic growth. A sustained shutdown of three or four weeks “would do significant economic damage,” economist Mark Zandi told USA TODAY.
5. What causes a shutdown? Under the Constitution, Congress must pass laws to spend money. If Congress can’t agree on a spending bill — or if, in the case of the Clinton-era shutdowns, the president vetoes it — the government does not have the legal authority to spend money.”
Still got questions? Read more here.
Lastly, Ferris Bueller can help explain what’s going on too.