The government is shutdown, and the world is watching how America treats its citizens in a battle of wills. As Ezra Klein said, before the clock struck midnight starting the shutdown, “This is all about stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people and reduces subsidies to private insurers in Medicare in order to help low-income Americans buy health insurance. That’s it. That’s why the Republican Party might shut down the government and default on the debt.”
Below is info on the path to the shutdown. Thank you to the budget expert with experience at the White House Budget Office and U.S. Senate for sharing information used below.
Here is what happened.
- House and Senate have been fighting about the overall spending levels for months.
- The Republican controlled House wanted the 2014 budget level at $967 billion for discretionary spending.
- The Democratic controlled Senate wanted the level at $1,058 billion (to include a plan that replaces sequestration responsibly).
- Democrats agreed to a level at $986 billion, which is the level of the continuing resolution (CR) that was under debate.
- Democrats took the compromise even though it is below the desired level, thinking they would have a clean CR without any crazy ideological riders.
Fast forward to this past week.
- The House passed a CR with a provision defunding the Affordable Care Act – (A law passed four years ago and a law tested by an election and the Supreme Court.)
- The Senate voted against the CR
- Senator Ted Cruz held his personal version of a filibuster.
- The Senate voted, stripping out the ideological riders the House put in and sent a clean CR back to the House.
- The House did not take up the Senate bill.
- The House in turn attached more riders that are unacceptable to Senate Democrats.
- The Senate voted and tabled those amendments, sending a third clean bill back to the House.
- After more back-and-forth, the House asked to appoint conferees to work out an agreement and negotiate.
- Leading up to this shutdown for six months, the Senate asked 18 times to appoint conferees for a budget conference. Every time Republicans objected.
- Not once has the House voted on a clean CR – which the Senate sent to the House. Meanwhile, the Senate along with the President made it clear that anything other than a clean CR would not pass the Senate and if it was it would be vetoed by the President.
When the House declined to vote on a clean CR passed by the Senate before midnight Tuesday, the fiscal year ended. Appropriations lapsed and the government shut down.
So now we wait!