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Government shutdown a petty move for Republicans


Editors note: This column was written Sept. 30. Due to the subject matter, some facts may have changed since the time it was written. Check for further updates.

The United States Congress has worked 117 legislative days out of 274 days so far this year.

In that time, Congress missed a deadline that lead to sequestration ($1 trillion in automatic cuts), increased student loan rates (and brought them back down again), split the farm bill into two separate bills (only to cut $40 billion from food stamp programs), turned the Senate’s immigration bill into piece-meal legislation (which will more than likely be put on the back-burner until next year) and is now threatening to shut down the government should the Affordable Care Act be implemented.

Who knew so much could be accomplished in so little time? House members must feel very proud of themselves.

On Oct. 1, a major component of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act should be implemented—the opening of insurance exchanges. This means those without health insurance can sign up for coverage.

But recent actions by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other prominent House Republicans linked Obama’s health care laws to a government budget bill. Basically, the budget bill—which the House needs to pass to approve government funding—also contains provisions that would delay insurance exchanges for another year.

The bill has to pass before 12:01 a.m. Oct. 1, but President Obama and the Senate will not approve a bill that would weaken the health care law. The Senate continues to reject the House bill and Senate Democratic leaders have stated they would strip any health care language from it. And the cycle continues.

Considering Congress’s notorious reputation with deadlines, it’s a safe bet we’ll see a government shut down in the very near future.

Hats off to Cruz for his inspirational effort to be as counter-productive as possible. Kudos, sir.

At this point, it’s no longer a matter of for-or-against “Obamacare,” it’s a matter of common sense.

Should there be a government shut down, members of the military would lose their pay, small business and house loans would freeze, passport requests would not be considered, national parks and other government tourist attractions would close, 800,000 government employees would face furloughs and more than one million will have to work without knowing when they will receive their next pay check.

Obviously, this isn’t a complete government shut down, but even a partial shut down can have detrimental economic effects if it goes on long enough.

Despite all of this, it’s very unlikely that the Affordable Care Act would just fade away. It will be implemented, even with a shut down.

Congress’s petty efforts to show-up Obama are pointless and harmful to the people they are supposed to work for.

Republicans are going to have to give. That is the only way out of this mess, but that is probably wishful thinking on my part. I mean, in what world do politicians actually give way to reason rather than put their pride aside for the betterment of their constituents?

Jasmine Aguilera may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jasmine Aguilera, Editor-in-chief
Jasmine is a senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in anthropology. She began practicing journalism as a high school student when she joined the Tejano Tribune, El Paso Community College’s student newspaper. During her senior year she became the first ever high school student to become editor-in-chief of the Tribune. She moved on to join The Prospector team in the fall of 2011. Jasmine has covered national politics, immigration, poverty, human trafficking, refugees and more in her time holding various editorial positions at The Prospector and as an intern reporter at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire and Gannett News Service, both in Washington, D.C. She aspires to become an international reporter and tell stories that do not receive the attention they deserve. Until then, she spends her time following the news and guiding a very talented team in reporting for a student audience and the El Paso community. She also enjoys a good book, art, music and the occasional Netflix binge (House of Cards and Breaking Bad remain her favorite).
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Government shutdown a petty move for Republicans