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Government Shutdown Narrowly Averted

todayOctober 1, 2015 11

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Taylor Zavala
News Director

Congress recently passed a continuous resolution that will fund federal agencies until December 11. The passing of the resolution between the House and Senate will hold off a government shutdown, that was the spotlight of speculation recently due to a Republican outrage, after debates erupted regarding the federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

However, the passing of a continuous resolution does not solidify a budget for the federal government. According to Texas State University Assistant Professor for the Department of Political Science, Dr. Michael Faber, government spending can be distributed in 2 methods: continuous resolutions or the passing of a formal budget. Continuous resolutions are typically based on the last fiscal formal budget, allowing federal agents to stipulate on overall spending. According to Dr. Faber, government shutdowns only affect a certain portion of federal agencies.

“What that means in practice is that all non essential agencies, anything not related to protecting people, protecting property, cease to function from whatever point the government officially shuts down. In practical terms, it doesn’t have a real impact on most people. In practical terms, it’s not going to be all that noticeable unless it goes on for a long period of time.”

Dr. Faber explains that often times when government shutdowns last for longer periods of time, many federal programs can begin to affect the average individual, including citizens not receiving social security checks or federal employees across the nation being out of the job until the shutdown ends.

Government shutdowns can also impact the perception of the federal government in negative and positive ways depending on the issues that are usually behind the means of a shutdown. Dr. Faber explains that often singular issues being the causation of a shutdown can have a negative connotation to the president, congress or both.

“A lot of politics is perception, and it’s that perception that really matters. In this particular case, that perception that congress and the president have failed to reach an agreement that allows the government to keep functioning. The republicans are hoping that Americans will perceive this as the Democrats being stubborn, insisting on something the American public doesn’t want. More likely, the voters are going to see this as Republicans preventing the government from operating over what most voters will see as a minor issue.”

A recent study conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal during late September can also add to the argument that Americans may see the defunding as a minor issue. According to the poll, 61% of those polled oppose the elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

However, since the House and Senate successfully passed a temporary spending resolution, the government will receive funding until December 11, delaying Congress’ budget issue for now.

The temporary spending measure will keep the government operating at approximately 1 trillion dollars a year, with notable changes for emergency situations, such as 700 million dollars dedicated to fighting wildfires occurring in the West.

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