Friday, October 4, 2013

Tales of the "Shutdown," by Ellen Barrett

No, the government shutdown does not entail a real life “The Purge,” and yes, students must still attend scheduled classes, but the recent government shutdown does affect UW-L students and the surrounding community in multiples forms.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Joe Gow stated, “So far, I’m not aware of any effects the Federal Government shutdown has had on our university.” As of Thursday, students have been informed by Gow that UW-L’s Reserves Officers Training Corps Eagle Battalion (ROTC) will be shut down after more than 40 years of involvement at UW-L. The U.S. Army decided to close the program due to insufficient funds likely caused by the sequester and government shutdown, said a ROTC cadet yesterday.
According to a press release from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, “The root of the pending Republican plan to shut down the federal government if they can't defund ObamaCare and allow employers to legally deny women birth control goes back to Paul Ryan’s budget.”

According to David Rogers, the unofficial dean of of the congressional press corps, "He (Paul Ryan) is too smart not to have seen the holes in his budget plan. And once the Senate followed with its own resolution, he failed to follow up by aggressively pursuing a conference with Democrats.”
Paul Ryan commented in a press release on September 30th, "We have an opportunity to help families in need and help grow the economy. I hope we can find willing partners on the other side of the aisle.”

After countless hours of deliberation between the House and the Senate regarding a spending bill to fund the government, no agreement was reached. As promised by Tea Party Republications, if a provision to defund or derail Obamacare was not added, they would not agree to a spending bill. With no incoming money to the government, a shutdown commenced early Tuesday morning. The new health care law (The Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obamacare) does not have direct connections to the spending bill. The first stages of Obamacare still commenced on October 1st.

Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan reacts, “This is a sad day for the American people, and our American democracy. Instead of working together to fulfill our most basic duty—to keep the government running—the extreme Tea Party wing has taken Congress hostage all the way to a government shutdown. Instead of being the world’s greatest example of representative government, we seem to have become the nation’s largest kindergarten—only with control of the nation’s checkbook and nuclear arsenal.”

Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble continues, “Whether two days, two weeks or two months from now it is irrational to assume the President is going to sign a law eliminating his hallmark legislative achievement.  The only outcome this yields is additional acrimony, risk to our economy, and escalating but appropriate distrust of government to actually get its work done.  I hope congressional leadership in both chambers and both parties will work expeditiously to resolve this issue and bring this shutdown to a close."

President Obama states in a press release, “We know that the last time Republicans shut down the government in 1996, it hurt our economy.  And unlike 1996, our economy is still recovering from the worst recession in generations.” Other implications include veteran services and benefits that American seniors, veterans, and business owners depend on must be put on hold. Certain government offices, national parks and monuments will also be shut down. Many government/military workers on the job will be furloughed. This means they will be forced to stay home and be unpaid. President Obama did sign legislation to ensure that 1.4 million active-duty military personal will remain paid.

These effects will remain in place until the Senate and the House of Representatives come to an agreement. Until then, families with government paychecks and local businesses which rely on government workers will suffer. Losses such as the ROTC Eagle Battalion to the UW-L campus is but one of many to come which will affect students in the area.