One week ago at midnight, the federal government 'shutdown.' President Obama is still refusing to negotiate and the next battle is quickly approaching: the debt limit. But despite the White House making life as painful as possible in the name of partisanship by barricading WWII vets out of their memorial, throwing the elderly out of their homes, shutting down the amber alert system, blocking national and private parks, etc. the majority of the government is still functioning. Byron York breaks down the numbers:
In a conversation Thursday, a Republican member of Congress mentioned that the military pay act, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama at the beginning of the shutdown, is actually a huge percentage of the government's discretionary spending in any given year. And that is still flowing. So if you took that money, and added it to all the entitlement spending that is unaffected by a shutdown, plus all the areas of spending that are exempted from a shutdown, and added it all together, how much of the federal government's total spending is still underway even though the government is technically shut down?
I asked a Republican source on the Senate Budget Committee for an estimate. This was the answer: "Based on estimates drawn from CBO and OMB data, 83 percent of government operations will continue. This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion), and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion). This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion."
That's right folks, 83 percent of the federal government is still open for business. The Obama administration wants this so called 'shutdown' to be as painful as possible because after all, they can't afford to have the American people realize the federal government is bigger than it should be. And federal workers? They're getting sick of crisis governing in Washington, too.
There was a time when being a federal employee meant a steady paycheck, great benefits and pride in serving the country.
But these days, many federal workers are frustrated, anxious and growing tired of being pawns in a never-ending political struggle over government funding.
"The pay has fallen behind, the uncertainty of having a job from day to day, the stability which was a drawing factor for a large portion of the people is gone now," said Tommy Jackson, an Air Force acquisitions manager in Warner Robins, Ga., who has spent 30 years in government.
So, will the 17 percent shutdown end soon? Not likely. Speaker of the House John Boehner expressed further frustration yesterday on ABC's This Week and urged President Obama to give him a phone call. President Obama isn't planning to call as he continues his non-negotiating stance with House Republicans.
“He knows what my phone number is, all he has to do is call,” Boehner, R-Ohio said on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
In his first extended TV interview since shutdown Tuesday, a defiant Boehner placed the blame for the fiscal impasse firmly on Obama, who has refused to sit down with House Republicans until they re-open the government at current spending levels.
"The president just can’t sit there and say, ‘I’m not going to negotiate,' " Boehner said.
The United States is expected to hit its debt limit on October 17.