The United States of American Federal Government Shutdown was the biggest story of the year in Washington. Listening to days of debate and arguments in Congress provided ample evidence that the shutdown was over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Examiner. com published the first article after the final vote on September 30, 2013 to announce that Washington was closed for business.
The story was number one in the nation. As more and more stories began to surface about the problems with the Healthcare.gov website. Many Congressmen and women felt vindicated in the opposition to the launch on October 1, 2013. However, many people felt that the loss of billions in revenue was a high price to pay to protest the new law.
In the District of Columbia the shutdown had even more serious ramifications than felt by other states and cities because D.C. is considered an arm of the federal government. Thus the crisis called upon the special leadership skills of Mayor Vincent Gray as he pleaded with congressional leaders to allow the District to spend its own locally raised funds. Gray called a capacity crowd town hall meeting at Friendship Academy Charter School to explain the crisis and his leadership efforts to avert it. In the end the District was given the right to spend its own funds.
The 17 days of panic was world news as reporters gathered on the lawn of the capitol from around the world. A reporter from Italy asked the present writer if America would really allow the world economy to collapse. It was a question heard around the world.
In the end, in the 11th hour, the debt ceiling crisis was averted and the government reopened. It was business as usual until the Healthcare.gov website news finally revealed that the online registration site was not ready for prime time.
As late night talk show hosts made light of the debacle, the members of Congress who had pleaded for a delay of the new law said, “I told you so.” They could not, however, stop a federal law that was passed by Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. Yet, for shear drama and panic, the story of the shutdown was the number one story in Washington in 2013.
Next up in the year in review: The Healthcare.gov website launch that didn't work.