An Inland Empire congressman today called the imminent partial shutdown of the federal government a "fiasco" precipitated by hard- line politics that will impact the services on which "American families rely."
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, said the continuing resolution that provides funding for government operations has become a bargaining chip that the "Tea Party wing of the Republican Party" is using in an attempt to sideline the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.
"Time and time again, House Republicans have shown their eagerness to hold our economy captive so they can score political points, and now they have sent our government on a path where a shutdown at midnight seems inevitable," Takano said.
The House has passed several continuing resolutions that seek to de-fund ObamaCare, which many critics -- including Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone -- denounce as "unaffordable" and a bureaucratic Leviathan replete with tax penalties that threaten businesses and directives that undermine personal freedoms.
The $986 billion continuing resolution over which the two sides are squabbling would provide appropriations for all levels of the federal government. However, Republican lawmakers have axed earmarks for ObamaCare, prompting Senate Democrats to vote down the House legislation and boot it back to Speaker John Boehner to restore the funding.
The start of the 2013-14 fiscal year is Tuesday. Without a continuing resolution, there's technically no money to pay for non-essential government services, necessitating a partial shutdown, according to published reports.
"Not only will this shutdown cost taxpayers over $150 million a day, but it will also cut many essential services that American families rely on," Takano said. "Speaker Boehner must do the right thing ... and put a clean continuing resolution up for a vote. I am confident that House Democrats ... will vote in favor of one of Congress' most basic duties and end this fiasco."
The last national government shutdown occurred in 1996 when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and then-President Bill Clinton were at loggerheads over federal spending.
A shutdown now would impact around 800,000 government workers in various agencies, including the Departments of Education and Interior, NASA and the National Weather Service
The Social Security Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Service, federal courts and Department of Veterans Affairs would not be affected.
—City News Service