Why Can't We Be Friends: The Government Heads For Another Shutdown
They're ready to shut it down down down
The Short of It:
Washington D.C. looks like its fixing to head for another government shutdown this week. Every year, funding for federal operations expires at the end of the fiscal year. That's this Friday on September 30th, at midnight. If that sounds familiar, it should be. For one you'll remember the government shutting down in 2013 which affected nearly 800,000 federal employees who were indefinitely furloughed, and another 1.3 million who were required to report to work without knowledge of when they'd receive their paychecks. There's also the story of Cinderella, you know, the one where glass slippers go missing and carriages turn into bad pumpkins at midnight. Unless the government can come to a spending agreement by then, the last stroke of midnight is expected to bring something rotten.
The Longer Version of It:
Here's where you might be asking, "wait, again?" Yes, again.
This time, every year, Congress works to pass a funding bill that will allow the government to keep up and running (read: funding for national parks, Zika virus research and flood relief in Louisiana) before the fiscal year ends. October 1st is that fiscal year deadline. As of late, Congress has had heard time getting it together in order to meet these deadlines, you'll remember hearing about the shutdown back in 2013.
Why is this happening again?
Senate Democrats rejected the funding plan because it left out funding for the city of Flint, Michigan. Remember the public health crisis currently taking place in Flint ( officials revealed this year that it's water supply was tainted with lead which people and children had been drinking). Two years ago, in 2014, the city changed its water source so it could save on money— which happened with no problems until people began to notice the water tasted and smelled weird. Two years after the incident and Flint's water is still unsafe safe to drink when it's not filtered. Here's where the government shut down plays in. Democrats rejected the plan after seeing funding for the replacement of the water-supply pipes was noticeably absent.
Republicans have said that the Flint issue would be addressed in a separate bill, but the Democrats are saying 'not good enough'. As senate leaders look into alternative ways to get the bill passed, everyone is keeping an eye out on Congress to see if the lights will be going out in three days time.
This year's threat is all about water damage. Unlike previous clashes over national issues such as health care laws or immigration policies, this shutdown conflict is reflecting on parochial crisis. Democratic demands are putting the spotlight on the need for help in Flint to fix the lead-contaminated water, as well as in Louisiana who is desperate for flood relief after being hit by a 48-hour long storm in mid August. The shutdown dejavu might seem like it rings true to the shutdown in 2013 and the threat of more shutdowns in the year previous, but this one is different. Mostly because this is all happening during an election year. You know, when politicians are hoping to head home and point to their work in D.C. to remind voters of how well of a job they're doing. Not a good look for the resume game.