Due to a lack of votes for the Republican short-term budget bill in the Senate, starting on Friday at midnight EST, the United States government was shut down indefinitely for the second time in 5 years.
As the fiscal year came to a close for the federal government on Sept. 31, 2017, the House and Senate failed to pass a long-term budget for 2018. Due to this failure, they instead passed a continuing resolution, or short-term spending bill, which would hold up until Jan. 19, 2018.
As the deadline for a new spending bill approached this last week, tensions rose in both the House and Senate as senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle failed to agree on budgetary items such as spending on DACA, military budgeting and delays on former President Barack Obama’s health care law taxes.
On Thursday night, according to CBS, the Republicans in the House were successful in passing another CR and sent the spending bill to the House, where it was speculated that the Republican senators would not receive the 60 votes needed.
As midnight struck on Friday evening, the bill was stalled by 44 Democrats and 5 Republicans in the Senate, sending the federal government into a shutdown, making it the eighth government shutdown since 1980.
So what is a shutdown and why does it matter?
According to Investopedia, a government shutdown occurs when the House and Senate fail to pass a budget and spending limits for the upcoming years. If they fail to pass such a bill, many departments and institutions within the federal government will fail to operate or open until Congress can agree and vote upon a short-term or long-term spending bill.
During a shutdown, according to Investopedia, some of the most highly affected areas include national parks, which can completely close or function at a very slow rate, and any office directly funded by the federal government.
In addition, those in the military will be affected as well. According to a statement by the Department of Defense, active-duty members of the military, including the national guard and reserve, will not be paid unless congress passes legislation which allows so. Veterans will continue to receive pay while other benefits, such as medical care, base childcare and commissaries will run at a very limited rate or be open for emergencies only.
The private sector may take a big hit as well as general operations in the market and within banks are disturbed. In fact, according to TIME, the 2013 shutdown cost the federal government and the economy over $24 billion.
The reality is that a government shutdown can last hours, days or weeks, depending on the negotiations between the two parties in the Senate. Until they can come to terms and agree on a bill, the Capitol will remain in the dark.