Congress act shows unaffordable carelessness - The Oakland Post: Opinion

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Congress act shows unaffordable carelessness

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Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 10:57 pm | Updated: 11:46 pm, Tue Oct 1, 2013.

The government shut down. But it’s not the end of the world.

Specifically, all “non-essential” government services are suspended until this whole mess gets sorted out. An article on The Guardian by Erin McCann explains specifically who the government considers “non-essential.”

“About 800,000 federal employees could see their paychecks jeopardized,” McCann wrote. NASA employees would be furloughed as well.

According to the US Department of Education’s “Contingency Plan for Lapse in FY 2014 Appropriation,” the government furlough will not directly affect those currently receiving federal financial aid. 

Federal student loans, the Pell Grant, and other forms of government student aid are funded separately from other government spending. So at least for now, your college money is safe.

But a delay in making a deal could adversely affect how much money goes to public schools like Oakland University.

A delay longer than a week, however, could result in a lapse in federal funding to public schools and universities.

Without government education money going toward schools, schools will have to get their money elsewhere.

Feel that sting in your wallet? This tantrum could mean higher tuition if things don’t pan out soon.

This is the first government shutdown since 1996. 

We came to this point in history a few years ago, with the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Republican Party didn’t care for the act, and attempted to block its passage.

Specifically, they didn’t like the individual mandate clause within the act, which requires all U.S. citizens to obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, unless they qualify for certain exemptions.

The case was eventually heard by the  United States Supreme Court, and was upheld by a 5-4 vote. 

A handful of Republicans in the House of Representatives, now both outvoted by the American people and the Supreme Court, weren’t about to take it lying down.

The Republican-controlled House passed a budget bill with a provision that would block Obamacare for another year. The Democrat-controlled Senate shot the bill down. 

So what happens when both parties play “chicken” until the deadline passes? Everyone else loses.

But things are all right. President Obama, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the lobbyists are still all getting paid as well. And that’s what’s important, right?

The government shutdown is a last-ditch stalling tactic. Hundreds of thousands will be without work, and those who depend on government services will suffer without them, simply because a handful of people in Washington can’t agree on health insurance.

Now would be a good time to mention 2014 is an election year. Michigan has one Senate and nine House seats up for grabs.

Pick up your phone and call your representatives. Send letters, since the post office is still carrying the mail. Send emails.

Let them know that when Nov. 2014 rolls around, you’ll remember exactly who they are and how they voted.

Your duly-appointed representatives are threatening your well-being. Next year, let them know how that feels.

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