Federal government to shut down as deadline passes with no spending bill

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Congress’ failure to agree on a new spending bill for fiscal year 2013-14 initated a federal government shutdown Tuesday morning, furloughing government employees and disrupting federal services for the public.

The source of conflict that prevented Congress from agreeing on a spending bill were portions of the Affordable Care Act, many of which were scheduled to take effect today. Republicans in the House of Representatives attempted to delay the act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare, by denying it funding. The Democrat-controlled Senate wouldn’t agree to a bill without Obamacare funding any more than the Republican majority in the House would pass a bill with funding, and the deadline passed without a deal.

President Barack Obama outlined which operations would and would not be functioning in a shutdown situation, during his address to the nation yesterday afternoon.

According to the president, programs such as Social Security, Medicare, the Postal Service and operations relating to national security or public safety will continue. He noted that some of these entities, such as the Border Patrol, will have delayed paychecks until the government reopens. NASA will also shut down, excluding mission control, which will remain open to provide support to the International Space Station.

The president also illustrated that a government shutdown would feature delays in basic economic functions, and that community services would be halted. He explained that more than 2 million civilian workers and 1.4 million active duty military will perform their functions with delayed pay, while others will be immediately furloughed without pay.

K-State, however, will remain largely unaffected, according to Robert Gamez, senior associate director of the Office of Student Financial Assitance.

“In the short term, even if we see a federal shutdown, we will not be adversely affected,” Gamez said.

Ron Fehr, city manager for Manhattan, said that the city would not be affected either.

“The only thing I can think of that might have a direct impact is the TSA at the airport,” Fehr said. “That’s the only real direct federal function that we have that’s tied to any of our city government operations.”

Fehr said that the city does not get any direct funds from the federal government and that even federal projects that take place in the city are funded by Manhattan initially, which is then reimbursed at a later date. That means that while Manhattan will eventually feel the impact of not being reimbursed, it will not feel any effects until if and when the shutdown becomes prolonged.

“I would think it would take several months of government shutdown for that to be impacted,” Fehr said. “It would just take longer for us to get some of our bills paid.”

The possible government shutdown would not affect the Student Governing Association either, according to Bill Harlan, Co-Advisor of the SGA.

“We don’t really see much of a connection besides a case of ‘this is what compromise does and doesn’t do.'” Harlan said. “It’s an interesting study of leadership and serving your constituents.”

Eli Schooley, senior in political science and student body president, said that even though K-State’s SGA is modeled after Congress, the possible shutdown hasn’t affected the SGA.

“It hasn’t really come up except in passing,” Schooley said. “We just kind of watch from afar.”

According to USA Today, the issue at hand is the congressional budget. The U.S. Constitution requires Congress to create a law, in this case a “spending bill,” to allow Congress to spend money. Failure to pass and get the president to sign a budget will cause many federal government offices to temporarily close starting today. This includes National Parks, presidential museums and, to some degree, the Food and Drug Administration. Active duty military are still required to report as scheduled.

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Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.