It actually happened. For the first time in 17 years, Democrats and Republicans couldn't come to a last minute agreement and the United States government was forced to shutdown.
As the seconds ticked away, Republicans and Democrats in both chambers of congress were pointing fingers and hoping for a last minute bluff of the opposing party, but it didn't happen. The last government shutdown happened in 1995 and lasted only a few weeks after both parties came to their senses and did enough to get the government funded again. With the Affordable Care Act and the health care exchanges opening on October 1st, the shutdown comes at a time when political focus is starting to heat up.
Despite the majority of the American people against a government shutdown, conservative radio show host, Rush Limbaugh, took to the radio airwaves to blame President Obama and the Democrats, claiming that they "want the pain" of the shutdown and will just blame the Tea Party for the after effects.
"I think that's what this whole shutdown is about. I think what's happening here, I think the Democrats are hoping to accomplish what they wanted the sequester to accomplish, but didn't.
If you remember, the Democrats thought the sequester would turn the American people against the Republicans forever because it was shutting down the military and shutting down Medicaid, Medicare, shutting down various important government functions, and it's turned out that the sequester is painless. And so the Democrats want a do-over, and that's what all of this is. They want the pain, and they want it blamed on Tea Party Republicans. And I'm told the Republican conference is meeting now, you know, Boehner and the boys are telling the caucus what's up, and a number of different Republicans have their turn at the microphone."
The issue with the government shutdown is the raising of the debt ceiling, or the country's credit line. Republicans have attempted to call the Democrat's bluff by attempting to defund "Obamacare" in lieu of approving funding to keep the government running. The debt ceiling, which was raised 18 times under Republican president Ronald Reagan and seven times under George W. Bush, has been a hot and difficult topic since President Obama was sworn into office in January of 2009.
Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, approved spending earlier this year, but now Republicans are refusing to pay the bill. Using the new health care reform as a tool of distraction, the Republican party, led by its loud Tea Party faction, are holding the country hostage, forcing the government to be put on pause. Not only is the new health care law just that, the law, it was upheld by a conservative led Supreme Court and was one of the key factors that led to the re-election of President Obama in his defeat of Mitt Romney in November of 2012.
The government will be back up and running, but the question that needs to be answered is when and what stipulations will be required to come to a compromise. Only time will tell and we can only hope for the best.