The US government is on a shutdown. Following the end of the financial year on September 20, a new budget for the 2014 financial year could not be established. The Congress, meaning the House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree on an approved budget. Without such a proposed and approved budget, the US government is left with no choice but to close non-essential offices and put on leave non-essential staff.
The contention lies in the divisive Obamacare issue. Obama’s Affordable Care Act aims at reforming America’s healthcare industry, a move not completely supported by the Republican-heavy House of Representatives. Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have continuously proposed cuts to Obamacare which thereby delayed its legislation. The Senate, on the other hand, is controlled by Obama’s Democrats and have been resilient in their support of Obamacare. The opposing stance on the Act have caused dispute in the budget formation and has now lead to the shutdown.
In the shutdown, non-essential offices and staff are put on hold. This means that government operated offices that do not play a significant role in the progression of the function of the government and the country are shut down for a while. This will include national museums and national parks such as the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz and the Yosemite National Park. At the same time, federal employees working in such offices are temporarily put on an unpaid leave. Since their offices are closed, they will not work for the time until the shutdown is resolved. Surprisingly, they are expected to take the full blow of the shutdown by losing income for a significant (and uncertain) amount of time. The shutdown, however, does not affect essential offices. Social security and the US military service are to continue with their work.