US government begins shutdown over healthcareCurrent affairs
The US government has started to democratically breakdown for the first time since 1996 due to conflicting opinions over healthcare funding measures in the US, which left the government starting a new fiscal year without a plan. The US government has now partially shut down for an indefinite period.
The US government failed on Monday night to negotiate a fiscal policy to overcome the US’s budget deficits when Republican healthcare proposals to suspend the implementation of Obamacare for another year were rejected by the Democratic Senate.
The government budget will now take the hit and be reduced to free up funds to pay debts without accumulating more debt. Government agencies are now to be shut with an overall 800,000 government labourers to be sent home on temporary leave or delayed pay.
The Health Department will be the worst hit with 52% of its workforce put on temporary leave or delayed pay along with several programmes which will be put on hold. For instance, the Food and Drug Administration which regulates the safety of food and drug products will be “unable to support” its operations in monitoring imports.
The Environmental Protection Agency will see 15,000 of its 16,000 employees on unpaid leave. Even NASA has seen 97% of its workforce sent home until further notice leaving only 549 out of 18, 250 to continue operations.
The shutdown has highlighted the ever-nearing default of the government in relation to its debt ceiling talks. The government has until the end of October to find a solution to its financing or face $30Bn and $70Bn in principle and coupon payments on US Treasury bondholders, due on 17th and the 24th October.
Republicans have said they also refuse to negotiate with Obama on the debt ceiling without concessions, which could lead to further strain on the US political system. Failure to solve this will lead to further stripping of government bodies as the Treasury finds funds to pay its debts and the eventual default of the government on its loans.
The shutdown in 1997 during the Clinton administration lasted a little under three weeks but until some form of negotiation is worked out the US is on the brink of default for the first time in its history.