Layman’s guide to the US shutdown

By Mudit Batra

Shutdown

The whole world is talking about the US shutdown when rarely a few people know what really is going on. When the whole world is following up, why not we? To get an understanding of what really is going on in the United States of America you will need to know a few basics of US federal system. The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the federal system. The Congress comprises of two further divisions; House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 435 voting members currently in the house. The number of representatives are based on the population of a state, just like the members of Lok sabha in our country. There are 2 senators from each state irrespective of the population, so 100 senators are appointed for a term of 6 years. The approval of both chambers (House of Representatives and senate) is required to pass any legislation, which then may only become law by being signed by the President.

What exactly is a shutdown?

Shutdown means that the government will lay off the hundreds of thousands of government workers, on an unpaid leave for an uncertain amount of time; these workers come in the category of non-essential that is for example rangers in national parks. These layoffs are done because the government is unable authorize sufficient funds for the government operations.

Now the question comes how this shutdown occurs?

Every year our Indian government presents a budget on the last working day of February, which then is implemented from the 1’st of April; the start of India’s financial year. Similarly the President of the U.S. proposes funding levels for the next fiscal year, commencing on October 1, in front of the Congress, which is called the United States Federal Budget. This budget needs to be passed by both the chambers of the Congress, before the commencement of next financial year. When this budget is failed to be approved then the government goes in shutdown mode, giving unpaid leaves to thousands of government workers.

Why shutdown occurred after 17 years?

Last shutdown was in 95-96, when Bill Clinton was the President, it lasted 21 days. This time the house of representatives is controlled by the republican party who are against the Obamacare Act and are using the budget as leverage to force changes in the act.

What will happen now?

Further meetings will be held until the budget is passed by the agreement of both the chambers and the president until then shutdown will be enforced all around the country.

So now, when you have got a nice idea about this shutdown, you can follow up the US politics and see how long this shutdown will last. Will it break the Clinton record? Who will to compromise more- the president on his Obamacare act or the republicans? It is a fight to be watched.

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