"The federal government began shutting down at midnight on Monday due to the failure of Congress to approve legislation to continue funding for federal operations. Essential government functions, like air traffic control and food safety inspections, will continue, but many federal offices will close and an estimated 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed. For more information on shutdown impacts and essential services, click here.
How did this happen?
Every year Congress must reach agreement on 12 funding bills that set funding levels for every federal agency and program. This work is supposed to be completed before the end of the federal fiscal year on October 1. To date, Congress has not completed action on any of the funding bills. It is not unusual for Congress to run late in completing this work, so typically the House and Senate approve a short-term, stopgap funding bill (called a Continuing Resolution, or CR) to keep the government operating while Congress completes the funding bills. Typically, approval of the CR is not something that generates a lot of controversy.
The problem this year is that House Republicans refuse to approve the clean Continuing Resolution that the Senate has passed to keep the government open through November 15. Instead, House Republicans have attached provisions to the CR to de-fund or delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Basically, the House GOP position is that they will agree to a short-term funding bill to keep the government functioning only in exchange for repeal or a delay of health care reform.
The President and the Senate take the position that it is not okay to shut down the government because House Republicans don’t like a health care law that was approved by Congress, signed by the President, and affirmed by the Supreme Court. Overwhelming majorities of the American agree that it’s wrong to shut down the government over the GOP dispute with the health care reform law.
Congress must resolve this dispute quickly before serious damage is done to the U.S. economy. The way to do that is to approve a clean Continuing Resolution."Rep. Levin represents St. Clair Shores, and other communities, in the U.S. House of Representatives.