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What’s the word: government shutdown

The federal government shut down Tuesday for the first time in 17 years.

But what does that even mean?

It doesn’t mean the U.S. is turning toward anarchy, and it doesn’t mean something like the 12 hours of legal crime spree in the movie “The Purge” will happen.

But the recent government shutdown will have some effects, big and small, for all American citizens and college students.

The Belmont Vision asked students around campus about the government shutdown. Here are some of the answers we received:

What can you tell me about the current government shutdown?

“Congress could not extend budget over Affordable Care Act.” – John Joiner, junior

“It’s possibly an illusion and not actually happening.” – Janie Townsend, sophomore

“It’s not as excessive as a lot of people think. They didn’t shut down things that keep people alive or keep peace. Also, local and state government has nothing to do with it.” – Kevin Valentine, sophomore

“Non-essential parts of government are sent home without pay.” – Katherine Fitzpatrick, junior

“Maybe that the government shut down?” – Caroline Kingsbury, sophomore

Why did the government shut down?

“Congressmen wouldn’t pass Affordable Care Act.” – Dalton Hughes, sophomore

“There was a disagreement between Congress and the Senate. And until they agree, the government shut down, besides the army.” – Alex Rice, sophomore

“Congress couldn’t decide on something.” – Robbie Jackson, junior

“I know that there was a disagreement between Republicans and Democrats and Republicans set an ultimatum and that ultimatum was not met about financial issues, especially Obamacare, so they shut down the government.” – Kevin Valentine, sophomore

“Basically Congress couldn’t come to an agreement and Republicans wouldn’t pass the Affordable Care Act.” – Katherine Fitzpatrick, junior

What does the government shutdown entail?

“The biggest part seems to be the parks. I know that because of Facebook. I hear people freaking out about the fire department, like no that’s not going to happen.” – Cameron Hardwick, junior

“Everything non-essential by the government has been shut down and people have been let go.” – John Joiner, junior

“Museums and parks and things?” – Caroline Kingsbury, sophomore

“Millions of vets won’t be getting their money and benefits.” – Robbie Jackson, junior

“The federal government shut out all of its employees.” – Austin McCarthy, sophomore

What can you tell me about the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?

“I know Republicans don’t like it.” – Robbie Jackson, junior

“I like it, but I’m against it. I don’t like that people don’t have enough money to eat, but we can’t just open grocery stores to everyone. So I’m for it, but it’s not practical.” – Cameron Hardwick, junior

“I know it’s universal health care, and if you don’t provide it for your employees, you get fined, which is still cheaper. It has preventative health care like birth control and mammograms included. I’m not thrilled about it but it seems like the best way to go. The thing with Obamacare is it gives doctors less time with patients and more paper work.” – Katherine Fitzpatrick, junior

“I didn’t realize it was passed until yesterday.” – Janie Townsend, sophomore

“I don’t agree with Obamacare. People should have the right to their own insurance.” – Alex Rice, sophomore


If you’re still unsure what the government shutdown is and why it’s happening, here’s how it was reported by CNN.

The fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and ends Sep. 30. Because a spending bill wasn’t passed Tuesday, non-essential parts of the federal government shut down as a result.

Here’s what you can’t do during the government shutdown: visit the Capitol, the Smithsonian Institution museums and zoo, or the National Gallery of Art. You also can’t camp in a national park, visit any of the country’s national monuments, get a new small-business loan and, most importantly, you can’t watch the National Zoo’s “panda cam.”

And while health care and funding the government aren’t directly related, Republicans have used the Affordable Care Act as a bargaining chip.

The government shutdown will continue until Congress comes to an agreement on a spending bill. When the government shut down in 1995, it spanned 21 days, but there’s no telling how long this one will last.

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