Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Government Shutdown trudges into its second week

By Brian Bevilacqua

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Courtesy bloggernews.net

Courtesy bloggernews.net

The United States government is approaching the second week of shutdown and so far, signs of progress are start-and-stop towards a deal to reopen federal services.

The government shut down on Oct. 1 after the House of Representatives and Senate failed to agree on a budget proposal to send to President Barack Obama. Republicans in the House refused to vote for a budget that included complete funding for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Speaker of the House John Boehner had agreed in principle to a budget with Democrats, but backed off from the deal after Tea Party members and interest groups persuaded House Republicans to shut down the government, rather than to fund it with the Affordable Care Act included.

Many immediate effects of the shutdown began on Oct. 1, with some social services and government regulations bearing the immediate brunt of the deadline. “Non-essential” government workers have been furloughed, resulting in the closings of offices, national parks, government websites and public programs funded by the congressional budget.

The public has become increasingly disenfranchised towards the government for its inability to agree on a budget, especially in light of the significant choices the people will demand Congress and the president to tackle in upcoming weeks. Public opinion has favored the president, but Congress’ approval rating has fallen below 10 percent, with more than half of the nation putting the blame on House Republicans as the shutdown wears on, according to recent Gallup polling and many news surveys.

Critics of the Republican Party are frustrated at the lack of negotiation or compromise regarding their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, as well as their willingness to halt the government to pass their legislation. Their supporters see them as minority supporting their rights against a President who will not adjust his health care law.

House Republicans have begun to reconsider their position in the debate as public opinion has shifted. A growing majority of Americans are more frustrated with the shutdown than any other government program and feel the house is putting special interests and campaign topics ahead of the national interest.

Student opinion is divided on the issue like the rest of the nation, but many students view the government’s inaction negatively.

Sara McCarthy, a sophomore biology major at the University of Massachusetts, is disappointed in Congress for the shutdown.

“It is pretty immature, and I know a lot of people who have had negative effects, whether it’s people out of work or a friend who couldn’t write a paper,” McCarthy said.

Other students echoed complaints that a shutdown was an ineffective and improper method for the House to press its agenda.

Sarah Addi, a UMass sophomore architecture major, agreed the shutdown was “immature”, and said, “a law is a law, and shutting down the government is the easy way out,” citing regular citizens who need government programs as innocent victims of the shutdown.

Sharon Amuguni, a sophomore communications and psychology major said, “It is pretty selfish of Congress to keep the shutdown going as long as it is … I know Congress’ approval rating is five percent. When it’s that low you know there is a problem.”

Brian Bevilacqua can be reached at [email protected]

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