Government Shutdown: separating Facts from Drama
By: S. Harding Xiro Xone News January 21, 2018 Updated: 4:38 PM PT
With a countdown clock posted on most news networks, Americans watched, as their federal government went into shutdown mode at, 12:01 am Saturday, sending several federally controlled agencies into difficult, yet familiar territory.
Fact: some federal employees will be furloughed, with pay. Members of the military will not be furloughed but may be paid late, and Social Security recipients will continue receiving their checks. The salary of some federal employees may be delayed but will be paid, once congress passes a funding bill.
The shutdown will not affect Medicare and Medicaid programs. VA Hospitals operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs will remain open to provide care, to our vets. The patients at National Institutes of Health (NIH) will still receive medical treatment, though 75 percent of its staff might get sent home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will maintain its 24/7 emergency operations center and will continue to monitor rising flu reports, all with a temporary cut in staff.
Some federally funded institutions such as the Library of Congress, will be closed until, a bill is passed. While those like the U.S. Postal Service and Department of Energy who have alternate funding sources, will remain open. According to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, “there are millions of dollars in surplus” at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is not funded through the appropriations process, will remain open. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will not close but will operate with limited staff who will carry out the duties of their respective agency.
On the safe and secure front, federal law enforcement, federal prisons, customs and border protection, the TSA, and air traffic controllers are essential to public safety and national security, will be on the job as usual. Criminals and civil litigants with cases in the federal court system have nothing to worry about until February 9, 2018, when the court will run out of money. Until then, all employees are expected to return to work on Monday January 22, 2018.
Drama: 1.3 million active duty service members will go unpaid during the shutdown. Saturday night Democrat Claire McCaskill made a motion to fast track a bill that would have guaranteed uninterrupted payments to the military and their families but senate majority leader, republican Mitch McConnell objected to a motion. Sunday afternoon senator Tammy Duckworth, a veteran, introduced the same bill as McCaskill, and it was objected to by republican senator John Cornyn. In 2013 the republicans, lead by senator Ted Cruz shutdown the government, the republicans made the same motion as McCaskill. Unlike the republicans, the democrats agreed to continue payments to the military.
President Trump has instructed majority leader McConnell to go nuclear and require only 51 votes instead of the usual 60. A Cloture vote is scheduled for 1:00 a.m., Monday morning.
The Democrats filibustered a budget-spending bill that did not include protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The filibuster is used to delay a vote on a bill. The deadline to pass the budget bill and keep the government running has passed, so the government went into shutdown mode. To stop the filibuster, the Republicans plan to invoke Cloture.
What is Cloture? Cloture is a process for limiting debate on a bill. It is the Senate's only weapon against the filibuster. Cloture is invoked when three-fifths, meaning, (60) senators vote for the cloture motion (to end the filibuster), so an up or down vote can be taken on the bill.