After a night of deliberation, Congress failed to reach a compromise on the nation’s budget, therefore shutting down the federal government until a resolution is reached.
Congress did agree to continue to pay military personnel and you won’t see any changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and postal services.
The shutdown did however furlough 800,000 federal employees nationally, slowed down veteran disability claims, closed national parks, and shut down federal websites.
Congress is continuing to work on a compromise and will continue to earn their paychecks; a thought that doesn’t sit well with local residents.
“I think it’s unfortunate that our representatives, that really don’t represent us, have forgotten about the poor and needy in this country,” said Naperville resident, Barb Thomas. “They set a very poor example of how the political process should work. And that they are still going to take their salaries, while taking away the salaries from other people.”
“Both the Congressmen and members of the White House are continuing to be paid while other government employees aren’t being paid,” said Douglas Nelson, a Lisle resident. “That’s what strikes me as the most ridiculous part.”
Local congressman Bill Foster, has said he will donate his paycheck to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
The nonnegotiable issue for the Republican controlled House is the Affordable Care Act, also know as Obamacare. The GOP says they will only pass a budget that either changes Obamacare or pushes back the deadline for all American to have healthcare one year from the current start date. An idea the Senate continues to reject.
“It goes to the Senate and the Senate says we’ll strip this language out and send it back to you and then they put the language back in and pass it and send it back to the Senate,” said Suzanne Chod who teaches Political Science at North Central College.
The last time the government shut down was 17 years ago during the Clinton administration, but Chod says this time around it’s different.
“We are at a point right now where there is a small section of the Republican Party that is very loud and has a lot of pull, and the rest of the party is being pulled in a direction they may not want to be pulled in,” said Chod. “And in doing so and attacking the Affordable Care Act as a part of this budget process is something we haven’t seen before.”
And the effects are being felt here, Fermilab in Batavia, funded by the Department of Energy, is now operating on reserve funds to keep paychecks coming for their 17,000 employees.
The lab’s Director, Nigel Lockyer said in an email sent to all employees: “a shutdown, will not immediately affect employees. Fermilab has sufficient monetary reserves in its contract to continue operating for about four weeks, so employees of will be able to continue working during a government shutdown.”
President Obama said in a speech to the nation today that he sees the need for Obamacare and isn’t willing to negotiate.
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