It didn’t seem like anyone expected Congress to push the U.S. into a dangerous shutdown of the federal government, but with help from Ted Cruz in the Senate, ultra-conservatives in the House of Representatives followed through on their promise.
So, let them drive us over the edge. And then let their party and extremist ideology suffer at the election polls in the quickly approaching 2014 mid-term elections.
I talked with people all week at school, at work and with family about whether or not we would end up in a government shutdown. I thought it wouldn’t be possible. Would one faction of one party really jump off the edge and try to change a law made back in 2009? It was hard to believe the Republicans would actually drag our country through a political stand off and shut down the federal government.
They did just that though. Luckily the most vital government programs are still running, but with funds running low, more programs could shutdown. Top lawmakers now say that the shutdown should last at the very least, another week. If congressmen and women want to hold on to their seats in Congress through, they better find a solution fast.
Somehow though, this isn’t even the worst it could get. The next financial crisis looms on Oct. 17, just a couple weeks from now. In order to prevent a potential financial default, Congress must vote to raise the debt ceiling yet again. The reality is, that if the Republican party remains committed to defunding key aspects of Obamacare, even when it means a shutdown, they likely won’t be cooperative on the debt ceiling issue either, even if the majority of the nation wants to see them let up.
Speaker of the House John Boehner has stated privately that he will remain committed to preventing default, and that’s great, but wrangling up the necessary votes from the ends of the Republican party could be pretty difficult, especially if the Grand Ole’ Party doesn’t have their way on Obamacare. The far right has made it clear that they are more than willing to put America’s financial future and current well-being on the line in exchange for political points from their grassroots bases.
As much as we have watched the executive branch over reach and even abuse power over the past two administrations, nothing comes close to the risk the Tea Party policy makers are taking now. The uncertainty in the markets due to a shutdown, or a potential default, could have devastating effects on our still fragile economy. Another credit downgrade would continue to keep investors and other nations wary of investing in the U.S.
This form of fiscal irresponsibility hasn’t gone unnoticed. The 800,000 furloughed government workers and the nation’s constituents they serve certainly aren’t happy. They’re tired of their government being held hostage over a bill that was passed in 2009. They’re tired of the reckless lunacy some members of the House of Representatives have taken to, with only a small, yet vocal faction of activists in support of them.
Dylan Lajoie, “aka Pickles,” is a senior political science major with a concentration in international studies.