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Partisanship cripples Congress, government shuts down

Obamacare's at work, but large sects of the federal government aren't; thus highlighting a head-scratching objective from members of Congress desperate for political chaos, including House Republicans who have tried more than 40 times to repeal the new health care law while also calling for responsible budgeting.

The U.S. Senate and House failed Monday night to strike a deal that would keep government open on Tuesday. The Republican-led House passed late-night legislation for government to maintain operations at current spending levels, but included in the proposals were attempts to delay implementation of Obamacare, formally called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Democrats in the Senate and President Barack Obama said they would not negotiate over a law Democrats campaigned on and won a presidential election defending – a law that has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The result: Without a compromise, as many as 800,000 government employees were furloughed today, national parks were closed and certain government contractors seemed likely to lose revenue.

Aspects of the federal budget uninterrupted by the shutdown include payments to men and women in the military, Social Security and Medicare.

President Obama, at a press conference this afternoon, quickly noted that his signature legislative achievement is continuing regardless of the shutdown because of its funding sources.

“The Affordable Care Act is a law that passed the House, that passed the Senate, the Supreme Court ruled constitutional. It was a central issue in last year's election. It is settled, and it is here to stay,” Obama said. “ … today Americans who have been forced to go without insurance can now visit Healthcare.gov and enroll in affordable new plans that offer quality coverage. That starts today.”

In recent weeks, Affordable Care Act-loathing Republicans declared they would only approve a resolution to fund the government if the health care law was defunded or delayed.

But much of the law's funding, as the president noted, has already been appropriated, including a key component, state- and federally-run health exchanges, which were unveiled today.

“This shutdown is not about deficits. It's not about budgets,” Obama said. “This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don't have it. It's all about rolling back the Affordable Care Act.”

There have been 18 federal government shutdowns since 1976. The most recent shutdown – prior to the one ongoing – began in December 1995 and lasted 21 days into January 1996.

Given its proximity to Washington D.C., Virginia's economy takes one of the hardest hits with Congress' budget-by-crisis approach.

Thousands of federal workers and commonwealth residents remain uncertain when they'll return to work.

“The first job of Congress is to pass a budget to run this country. That's what they haven't done,” a Loudoun resident and furloughed Department of Defense (DOD) employee said today. The employee spoke on the condition of anonymity because of his position with the DOD. “In fact they haven't passed a complete budget in quite some time.”

The employee predicted that Congress will pass a new spending plan in the days or weeks ahead and most federal workers will be paid retroactively.

“History says eventually I'll get paid for today, whether I was there or not. This is just wasting our time. It's taking away productivity. It slows down contracts … ,” the employee said, adding that the shutdown is “costing the country a lot of money. I mean, it's a lot of money to shut down and bring everything back up.”

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.-10th), who voted with all but two of his Republican colleagues on the House measures Monday, called for Congress to “be leaders,” “govern” and “open up the government” this afternoon.

“Mr. Speaker, I’m calling for the government to reopen,” Wolf said in a speech on the House floor. “I’m calling for leadership on both sides to resolve these issues. The FBI is being impacted. The CIA is being impacted. The National Terrorism Center, which is looking at leads that maybe coming to keep this nation safe, is being impacted …”

In Congress' upper chamber, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said it's irresponsible for Republicans to hold the nation's budget hostage over a single ideological issue. In a conference call with reporters, Warner sounded dismayed by the unprecedented actions of some of his congressional colleagues, calling this a “horrific day” the nation and Virginia.

"Today,” Warner said, “makes my worst day as governor in Richmond look not so bad."

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H1Bs does not take away American jobs. The vast majority are issued for workers in the tech industry where there is a million person shortage for filling open jobs. H1Bs holders are paid at the same pay rate as the rest of us plus there is a fee for the company to have the visa; its about filling jobs because there is no money savings.

The question is why aren’t more students taking up programming when it has such a major demand and great pay?

Frank wolfe needs to retire. In office forever and nothing to show. Mark Warner, you’re for all getting back to work, however you back more H1Bs allowed to take away jobs from US citizens. You’ve lost my vote, thought you were one of the good guys in office.

@fedupdude, I blame Obama, the senate and congress. Polls are for morons(and the stupid media) because the right questions are never asked and people lie most of the time(I do). I’m all for cleaning house, get rid of all the old farts. If they’re over 62, they resign or lose their pension.

As for the ACA/obamacare. The priority should have been the economy/jobs, not health care. Number 1 reason why I’m not a fan.

more cowbell - You seem to think the debate about ACA is the same as who Americans blame for the shut down; its not the same.

“Brown’s latest poll found that 72 percent of Americans oppose the government shutdown and a growing number put most of the blame on Republicans in Congress.”

“just 22 percent approve of this action.”

“Republicans in Congress also got record-low marks in the poll. Just 17 percent of Americans approved of the job GOP lawmakers were doing, and 74 percent disapproved.”

“Republicans know what polls show — that most Americans don’t know what’s in ObamaCare, but when told what the law actually includes, a strong majority support the law.”

Here are the results when the mandates in the ACA are explained to people; except for the buying mandate everything else is majority approved even by hardcore republicans:

Tax credits to small businesses to buy insurance: 88%

Close Medicare “doughnut hole”: 81%

Create health insurance exchanges: 80%

Extension of dependent coverage: 76%

Subsidy assistance to individuals: 76%

Medicaid expansion: 71%

Guaranteed issue: 66%

Medical loss ratio: 65%

Increase Medicare payroll tax on upper income:60%

Employer mandate/penalty for large employers: 57%

Individual mandate/penalty: 40%

fedupdude you’re full of sh!t. yeah, right 17%(more like 60%). I know I lost $5K/year becasue ACA because of health care spending accounts were cut in half. And I know for a fact that most uninsured can’t even afford $100/month because they now live paycheck to paycheck. does it have some good, yeah. I like that young adults are covered under parents plan. I hate both parties however I don’t see the dems doing any compromise???? Also, why were so many groups given another year to wait to implement the ACA? That’s right, make up the rules as we go.

SkidRow:  maintence workers, people who process passport applications, people who process job applications, people who process veteran’s disability benefits, purchasing folks and many other support staff positions are “non-essential” - do you really think we don’t need them?

more cowbell - It is the republicans fault; they are holding government workers and many benefit plans including WIC hostage to try and defund the ARA because they don’t have the power to do this in congress through legitimate process.

17% of Americans back this nonsense the rest will punish the republicans in November.

The republicans have been playing games with the budget and the economy since they took the house in 2010 hoping the blame would land on the democrats and win them more power in 2012; it didn’t work yet they are sticking to this plan to hurt America until they gain more power.

800,000 workers are non-essential?  Sounds like the Government could cut some fat out of it’s bloated budget. Only essential people should be employed.

Warner is losing my trust if he can only blame the repubs on this one. Both are at fault. How about the prez, congress and senate donate their money since they shouldn’t be getting paid either. In fact, they all should be locked in a room and not come out until they have a compromise. Corrupt politicians are destroying this country(at every level).

Thinking I might finish off this half gallon of spiced rum tonight. Want to smell appropriate when I go pan handling in front of the capital tomorrow.

No work no pay.
Let this thing drag out 2 weeks so it’s bad enough that it will never happen again. Don’t care who you are if you ain’t working you should not be getting paid this ain’t the Sopranos and the mafia!

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