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Government shutdown threat looms: Does it matter?

The nation is once again facing the threat of a government shutdown, the fourth one in less than a year. But is anyone paying any attention anymore?

The bipartisan bickering over the budget has aggravated many, and more are getting increasingly fed up with lawmakers' methods of approving only short-term fixes rather than one longer-term solution. One critic, Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in late September that “these kinds of piecemeal steps serve no one well, including the men and women of the federal workforce who seek only to continue performing their missions on behalf of the public without the near-constant threat of interruption."

The federal government is currently operating on a stop-gap budget that expires Nov. 18. Unless Democrats and Republicans can agree and pass a 2012 budget or resort to yet another short-term funding measure, the government could again face the risk of a shutdown.

This time around, however, some consider the looming threat minimal. Federal News Radio reported that Office of Management and Budget head Jacob Lew said a shutdown seems unlikely when the continuing resolution ends less than two weeks from now. 

“There is absolutely no reason that we should" have a shutdown, he said. Later he added that  he did not believe “we were on the edge of shutdown in September when there was a bit of dustup over emergency funding."

A writer for Time magazine went as far as saying that “virtually no one on the Hill thinks the government will shut down this time.”

“Congress has actually made headway on at least half of its 13 annual appropriations bills for the first time in nearly three years, a relatively amazing display of functionality for an institution that has repeatedly proven its inefficacy this year,” Jay Newton-Small wrote for Time Swampland

The buzz about the impending shutdown has certainly been less noticeable this time around. Are people in Washington getting fed up with hearing the same story over and over again? Has the public decided the frequent talk of shutdown are political posturning and empty threats?

 What do you readers think? Are you worried about a government shutdown this time? Do you think it will happen? Or is it just saber-rattling from politicians trying to inspire worry? 



Posted by Camille Tuutti on Nov 07, 2011 at 12:19 PM


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