With just hours left on the clock, a government shut down appears to be inevitable.
Over the weekend, House Republicans passed a second continuing resolution that mandates a one year delay of Obamacare.
The parties cannot even agree on what this means. The GOP insists all funding for the affordable care act is defunct. But Democrats insist...even delayed...the funding is there. And now, congress can't agree on the spending bill to keep the government ticking.
It has been 17 years since the last government shut down in 1995. That was the longest shutdown in history at 21 days. If government goes unfunded for that long this go round, will it be detrimental to our economy?
The fiscal year ends Monday at midnight, and if no deal is reached...the government will start to close shop at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Ian Ostrander is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Texas Tech. He said, "Obamacare is funded like everything else is- through the government continuing resolution. So in that sense, it's kind of a part of what their talking about. But, the delay of Obamacare is really a policy writer."
Obamacare is not directly tied to funding the government, but it is being used as a bargaining chip, causing the house and senate to disagree on the spending bill.
"It's an opportunistic way of trying to get a vote on a measure that they wouldn't have been able to get a vote on," Ostrander said.
Congress has one key duty laid out in the constitution: it must pass laws to spend money. If the House, Senate, and President do not come to an agreement by midnight Monday, it is lights out.
"The real question for average viewers or politicians is, 'can the government govern?' And that's why this issue is so important," Ostrander said.
If there is a shut down, the President and members of the House and Senate will all still continue to get paid. It is the non-essential positions that won't. Families will not get paychecks, national parks will shut down, and small businesses that depend on the government could close.
"The question is really not about who loses their job, but who get furloughed for a certain amount of time. That cuts into the paychecks of federal workers who are already facing the cuts from the sequester," Ostrander said.
Dr. William Gustafson. Senior Director, Center for Financial Responsibility said, "If you're directly under these particular agencies, or your business is involved with working with these agencies, you could start to see an impact on that kind of employment."
The question almost isn't IF the government will shutdown, but who is to blame when it does.
"I believe that's the central question," Ostrander said. "Probably the reason that the Democrats might be comfortable with letting it go to the brink. They think it will get blamed on the Republicans, just like it was in the mid 90s."
The shut down will not happen all at once. Bureaucrats will decide who is essential, and who is non-essential. Those deemed essential will carry on as usual. That is most of the 3.3 million government employees. About 783,000 employees will have to power down until Congress funds the government.
The good news is, you will still get your mail, your social security check, and the military will still fight.
The bad news -- you will have to wait to get passport, a gun permit, or a federal loan to buy a house.
So, the length of a shutdown determines how severe the hit will be to the economy. kurt?
The big problem now is debt ceiling decision on October seventeenth. The Federal Government is expected to hit the borrowing limit at that time.
This is a huge issue. It is sort of like when you max out your credit card, and then ask for a higher credit limit.
If Congress cannot agree on a budget before then, the United States could default on its debt, and that has never happened before.
It could lead to the loss of millions of jobs, higher interest rates, and maybe trigger another recession.
Now we wait for them to strike a deal.