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Opposing political party decisions affect the nation

By Andre' Williams
On October 10, 2013

As the United States government shutdown continues, President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet today with congressional leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner to find a way to resolve the impasse.
The shutdown began Oct. 1 once Congress could not agree on a spending bill to fund the government that led to approximately 800,000 federal employees being without jobs.
The shutdown occurred due to disagreements between the Senate led by Democrats and the House of Representatives controlled by Republicans.
The House insisted on provisions to defund or chip away at the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The Senate opposed this view.
The House leadership said later that they wanted the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act to be delayed for a year.
Frank Jackson, the university's government relations officer, thinks that the true reason for the shutdown is that the Republicans do not want Democrats to achieve a victory.
"When you talk about the shutdown, it's a deeper story; it's a competition," said Jackson.
As leaders of the two parties compete, their jobs are not affected by the shutdown. They, along with the president and justices of the Supreme Court, will continue to be paid.
The 27th Amendment to the Constitution restricts any Congress from changing its own pay. And while it restrains Congress from increasing its pay, the amendment also blocks Congress from freezing or cutting its compensation.
"It's not fair that the very people who are causing so many Americans to lose their jobs are completely unaffected by this," said senior biology major Cedric Pettaway.
Along with Congress, the president has constitutional duties and so will remain on the job throughout the shutdown. Funds to pay his salary are not reliant on the funding from Congress.
Supreme Court justices are protected against a decrease in pay as spelled out in Article III of the Constitution.
There are government entities that were not affected by the shutdown; those are considered essential.
Social security funding is mandatory, which means it is automatically authorized, and not part of the government shutdown. Health care benefits fall under the same umbrella, which means they are also not affected.
Air travel will not be affected.  Air traffic control is considered essential so planes should still take off as scheduled.
 The country's supplemental nutrition assistance program is continuing operations. Some nutrition programs are at risk but food stamps will not be affected. According to the Department of Agriculture's shutdown plan, there is about $2 billion in contingency funding available.
 The U.S. Postal Service continues to operate.
Federal courts are not immediately affected by the shutdown as they have funds and fees that will keep them operating for approximately 10 business days.
Active duty military personal and reserves are not affected by the shutdown and will also remain on duty.
Amid the shutdown, public universities are not immediately affected.
"As far as the university is concerned, there should be no problem. Everything should continue as is," said Jackson.
There could be some immediate impacts to few college programs but the severity will largely depend on the duration.
The U.S. Department of Education said that distribution of Pell Grants and federal direct student aid loans will not be affected. However, the shutdown forced furloughs of more than 90 percent of the department's 4,440-member workforce.
But the importance of knowledge on this situation is great.
"It is important for all students to be educated on what is going on with this shutdown," said senior mass communications major and Student Government Association vice president Jarrick Brown.

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