Government Shutdown 2013

There has been so much drama and craziness surrounding the current shutdown of our government. I, for one, am no political genius or political anything for that matter. I know enough to understand the current events {well, most of them anyway} in our society and I move on with my life. And honestly, the only reason that I know as much as I do about this whole 'government shutdown' thing is because I work for the government. Consider this my disclaimer. :)

First of all, it's been 17 years since the federal government last faced a partial shutdown because Congress and the President couldn't agree on a spending bill. Basically, Congress must pass laws to spend money. If Congress can't agree on a spending bill {or if the President vetoes it}, the government does not have the legal authority to spend money. Not okay. The current shutdown revolves around this: the Republican-controlled House has passed a spending bill that maintains spending levels but does not provide funding to implement the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The Democratic Senate insists that the program be fully funded and that Congress pass what they call a 'clean' CR (continuing resolution). 

And now, a little history of government shutdowns. Usually, shutdowns last no more than three days, with some even lasting less than a day. There have been 17 government shutdowns since 1977, per the Congressional Research Service. The longest shutdown was also the most recent: from December 16, 1995 through January 5, 1996 - 21 days. So far this time, we're on day 3.

Now, how does that affect us? Well, let's take a look. National Parks and monuments are shut down - yep, that includes Yosemite, the Smithsonian, the Statue of Liberty, and Holocaust Museum. Tax returns would possibly be delayed, especially if you file a paper return. The IRS will suspend all audit activities. The WIC program will take a hit - no money will be available to pay the administrative costs of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The National Institutes of Health will not be able to accept new patients or begin clinical tests. New gun permits won't be processed. Call centers, hotlines and regional offices that help veterans understand their benefits close. New applications for small business loans and loan guarantees will be immediately halted. Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees including many charged with protecting us from terrorist threats, defending our borders, inspecting our food, and keeping our skies safe will work without pay until the shutdown ends. And hundreds of thousands of additional Federal workers will be furloughed without pay - it just depends.

So, what's not affected? Well, social security beneficiaries will continue receiving checks. The U.S. Postal Service will continue delivering mail. Active military continue serving. Air traffic controllers, prison guards, and border patrol agents will remain on the job. NASA Mission Control will continue supporting astronauts serving on the Space Station. The majority of Homeland Security will stay on the job. The President's $400,000 salary is mandatory spending, so he will be paid.

Want a more specific list? Check out CNN's article on What's closed, what's open? 

This morning, my coworker talked about some reports her friend saw on the news regarding children being turned away from Cancer centers and having to perform certain medical procedures from home. Sickening.

I believe part of the importance of this situation is really understanding it! I have done so much research and talked to attorneys and higher-ups this week regarding all of this that it's unreal! It's taken over. And God only knows how long it will last. So, education is key!


But with all of that going on, today, I am thankful.

I'm thankful that I still have a job to go to. In fact, I have two. Yes, I work for the state, but I am not furloughed. I continue to go to work every morning knowing I will get paid as usual. For that, I am thankful.

I'm thankful that I do not have any serious medical problems that are affected by this shutdown. And I pray for all of those out there that do. I cannot even begin to imagine how stressful, frustrating, and miserable it must be to figure this all out. Who is open? What benefits will you continue receiving? Will you have to figure out an alternative to something? God bless the men and women out there struggling with this new 'normal', however long it lasts.

I'm also thankful for a wonderful, loving family. I've lent an ear and shoulder to cry on recently to more than one person struggling with family issues {completely unrelated to the shutdown, but still}. It reminds me that I am blessed with amazing, supportive parents and quirky, loving, caring siblings. We have and will continue to go out of our way to help each other, even if we're getting on each other's nerves. The petty fights are nothing. We have love. And we show love. And we are blessed. For that, I am grateful. Every single day, I thank God for his mercy and blessings bestowed upon my family.

I'm thankful for the opportunity that I have to assist victims of violent crime. No, we cannot help everyone, and yes, I get yelled at daily by victims and grieving loved ones, but it's worth it. It's not easy, but every time that I tell the victim or grieving loved one that we will be able to help them financially with the evil that has burdened their life, hearing the tears of joy and unending thanks that has hit their hearts, it makes it all worthwhile. The good outweighs the bad. We do help. We do good. For that, I am so thankful.

I am most importantly thankful to God for my faith. I know that I am saved and that I serve an awesome God. In good times and in bad, I know that it is His will and His plan. That faith continues to grow each and every day, and for that, I am thankful. I am thankful for all that He has given me, for I know that I am undeserving. I am a sinner. But He forgives me for what I have done. He knows the path that lies ahead for me, and having unwavering faith in Him and in His plan for my life, whatever purpose He has me here for, it leaves me with peace. Peace in knowing Him and serving Him. I know from experience that life is not easy. And this government shutdown is another example for those that are affected by it. God never said life would be easy, but He did say it would be worth it!  For that, I am forever thankful.

So, I challenge you. Today, be thankful. Even if it seems the world is crashing down upon you and you carry the weight of it on your shoulders, find something to be thankful for. Let go of the festering anger and hatred and resentfulness that you carry for whatever it may be, and just be thankful. We need a little happiness to go along with the doom and gloom of this shutdown. No, we don't know what lies ahead for our country. But in the face of it all, give thanks for the blessings in your life.

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Haley said...

Wow. I don't watch the news much and when I do.. it's local news. I heard Ellen make a joke about the government shutting down on her show yesterday and that was the first I had heard about it. My husband came home and filled me in on the rest of the situation. But reading your post today really gave me a better understanding. I knew that it was devastating. But it breaks my heart to hear that people aren't receiving the proper health care that they deserve.. I mean, the US is brutal for health care to begin with (no offense of course!) but.. this, this is just wrong. AND I winced when I read that veterans don't get the services they so deserve either. I hope things get figured out.. I heard about a lot of Lay offs. You're very lucky to not be one of them, for sure.
It's wonderful that you can be thankful for things, even when the world isn't so wonderful right now. Good on you. Thanks for doing all the research and making it easy for ignorant people like me to develop a better understanding!

Bekah Walsh said...

Yep. This is buckets of fun. I'm looking for work which I doubt will happen til this is resolved...but in the meantime, I live right outside of DC so the majority of people I know are either furloughed or working for no pay. woohoo!


My husband is active duty Army and I am VERY thankful he will still get paid. You are right, education is key. Thankful that God is ultimately in control, though. :)

Raewyn @ Be A Warrior Queen said...

THANK YOU for this post :) I haven't had time to write one and I like to break things down for my friends.

Stacie Kendrick said...

I love reading your thoughts. And even better that I know you in the face to face world. But I like Lauren am lucky that they passed the law for active duty to still get paid. With a single income one child and another trying to get here sooner than she is expected its nerve wrecking. We never know what will come next or if today is the last day we get to spend with Jon, because he could leave at any given second. His second deployment (2011) he went without pay for 3 months while gone because it was shutdown for them. It's mind blowing though how we have all survived this long.
Keep your head up, and be strong for all those you are able to help. Love ya girl!

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