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Tentative Budget Agreement Reached in the House of Representatives

March 31st, 2011

The following is a guest post from Alexis Bonari. If you are interested in guest posting at Geek Politics, check out the guidelines here.

Amid the current fight between Democrats and Republicans over passing a budget, talks of a government shutdown have been circulating throughout the media. Late Wednesday night ABC News has reported that a tentative agreement has been reached that would involve a compromise by both parties. Although there seems to be some amount of compromise with John Boehner and the Republican lead house conceding to a budget cut of $33b splitting the difference between the Republican proposal of $36b and the Democrats $30b.

The acrimonious fight being waged in the House has threatened to cause a government shutdown if an agreement is not able to be reached by April 8th. This would not be the first time a government shutdown has occurred because of a budget dispute. In fact a total of 16 shutdowns have occurred in the last 30 years, a phenomenon among developed nations that is unique to America. The most famous and perhaps the most costly one occurred in 1995 when President Clinton vetoed the spending plan passed by the Republican dominated congress. It lasted for a total of 21 days with federal employees, the airline industry, and tourism industry taking the brunt of the damage. Losses to furloughed employees was estimated to be $400 million, while the airline and tourism industries were estimated to suffer a loss of up to 9 million travelers.

A government shutdown, which is attributable to the Antideficiency Act of 1870 is required in cases where the federal government is unable to enact funding. The government has provisions in place to handle these types of situations with all non-essential services being cut. Legislators, military personnel, police, fire, utilities, air traffic management, and corrections are not affected by these shutdowns, although House Republicans are pressuring Boehner to pass legislation that would freeze Congress and the President from being paid as well. For most Americans the impact is minimal. Social Security and Medicare checks still arrive in the mail; however the processing of new applications is typically delayed. During the shutdown in 1995 50,000 SSA workers were recalled early to handle the processing of new claims. Federal parks and monuments are shut down as well, affecting travel plans.

Of course, this all comes after the Republicans initially set a budget cut of $61b. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader has split from House Speaker John Boehner in demanding that House Republicans keep their commitment to the original budget. Given the Majority Leader’s ability to stall House floor negotiations, Cantor’s demands should not be taken lightly. This has acted to split the Republican Party between the Tea Party supporters who demand that no compromise be made to the budget cuts, while some moderates fear that a government shutdown would cripple our currently fragile economy.

Given the current economic situation, the compromise being made between Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be necessary to arrive at a solution. The major problem with the additional cuts at this point is that no one has agreed upon where those cuts are actually going to be made. So don’t be surprised if we see yet another fight over where to cut the money.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching autism scholarships as well as equestrian scholarship programs. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.

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  1. April 3rd, 2011 at 07:00 | #1

    One point to add into this discussion: The Hill reported that a majority of Americans would be ok with a government shutdown if there are budget cuts. According to the Hill:

    According to a new survey from Rasmussen Reports, 57 percent of likely US voters said making deeper spending cuts in the federal budget is a higher priority than preventing a partial government shtudown. Thirty-one percent said they disagreed, with another 12 percent saying they were not sure.

    Full article can be found here. I think this is important when looking at which party might blink first on this battle.

  2. Michelle
    April 11th, 2011 at 12:53 | #2

    Okay, let me play devil’s advocate about this article you’re quoting. I think the Rasmussen Report poll is great but it’s biased. Which one of those 57% were military and count on their checks each month? None. Look it up. No military personnel will receive their pay while a government shut down is in place because of this budget fight to agree. Tell the man who’s fighting for our lives and freedom he can’t be paid because of stonewalling, temper tantrums and political posturing is going on. He can have it again as soon as recess is over, right?