Friday Links: What Is Up With Our Government?


Screenshot from Video by Sourcefed

As the fiscal year ends, Congress neglects to pass a spending bill to fund the government, leading to a government shutdown. Eliot Morgan from YouTube’s Sourcefed channel explains what exactly is happening on Capitol Hill for the time being.

At the end of the government’s fiscal year, September 30, the Congress has refused to pass the spending bill that funds the government, an event that has not occurred since 1995. The House Republicans are intent on derailing or at least chipping away at Obamacare in exchange for the passing of the spending bill. The problem is that the Senate Democrats are just as intent on leaving Obamacare on its previous path.  This is the negotiation that the House and Senate are dealing with. Because of the shutdown, many government owned businesses have come to a screeching halt. These businesses, including NASA, The National Zoo, and military aid and plumbing, have been stopped for the time being. More than 800,000 government employees are currently unemployed, and the effect that this will have on the economy is uncertain. However, economists estimate that a three-to-four week shutdown will cost the government up to $55 billion.


Syrian Chemical Weapons

Through an American and Russian brokered deal, Syria has agreed to disarm its chemical weapons with the inspection of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Traveling to over 20 sites in Syria, inspectors will witness the disarming of over 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, most likely through incineration. There are temporary cease fires established in order to meet their target of eliminating all chemical weapons within Syria. The inspectors overseeing the operation claim that security will be difficult, but the November 1 deadline will most assuredly be met.


Military Aid in Egypt

The government is soon to announce its significant cuts to its $1.2 billion in annual military aid to Egypt, because the Egyptian military has been setting up coups and shooting at peaceful civilian protestors, killing hundreds of people. Although the White House has not confirmed any cuts, the possibility still stands. The military aid has been the defining feature of U.S. aid in the Middle East and is part of the 1979 Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel. Therefore, taking cuts from it would be a drastic move. There are pros and cons to the decision, as there is a case for punishing Egypt’s generals but also a case for keeping them close. Overall, the White House must choose between being associated with the unnecessary violence that the Egyptian military is carrying out or damaging the United States’ relationship with Egypt.