Friday Links: Why Did the Government Shutdown?


The government shutdown lasted far longer than recommended due to dispute over the spending bill. The number of government owned businesses and organizations that were paused continued to grow in response, so YouTube news channel Sourcefed’s Joe Barreta and Lee Newton reported on what one could and could not do during the government shutdown.

Under the Constitution, Congress must pass laws to spend money. If Congress cannot agree on a spending bill by the end of the fiscal year (September 30) the government does not have the legal authority to spend money, leading to a government shutdown.

In the case of this year’s government shutdown, Congress and the White House could not agree on a spending bill to pass. Simply speaking, the House, being Republican controlled, wanted to pass a spending bill that maintains spending levels while not having enough money to implement the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare; however, the White House, being Democratic, was in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

In order to end the government shutdown, President Obama had to sign a spending bill to implement in the new fiscal year. However, if the dispute had continued and no compromise was made between both parties, then a spending bill wouldn’t have been passed. Economists claim that even a short government shutdown can lower economic growth, and since the government shutdown lasted almost two weeks, there could be serious economic damage in return. Although taxes won’t be affected, the government will lose money to the shutdown in terms of contingency planning and back paying.

Perhaps the most popular effect of the government shutdown was the closing of government owned businesses and national monuments. However, few people know that this was caused by the Anti-Deficiency Act of 1870. This act states that it is illegal to spend tax money without an appropriation from Congress. Therefore, many government agencies and government owned properties were stopped in their tracks as a result of the government shutdown. However, seniors continued to get Social Security benefits, food stamps continued to be handed out, and unemployed citizens continued to get benefits.