Another year, another looming government shutdown. Just two years since the historic government shutdown in October 2013, the United States federal government is facing down the abyss once again. This time the standstill is caused by a disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over funding for Planned Parenthood after a video surfaced back in July, claiming to show Planned Parenthood selling embryos for profit. The source of the video is of questionable authority and Planned Parenthood is not subject to any investigation, and the activities shown in the video are legal. However, Republicans are using it to call for federal funds to be diverted from Planned Parenthood. On Friday, September 18, the House voted 241-187 along party lines to freeze funding for the organisation. The vote was largely symbolic, however, as the bills it approves have almost no chance of being passed by Obama’s Democrat party.
The same person that led the last government shutdown is helping to lead this one, Senator Ted Cruz. Fellow Republican senator Kelly Ayotte has challenged his strategy, saying she opposes risking a government shutdown, “particularly when it appears there is no chance of achieving a successful result.” The two parties have until October 1 to resolve the disagreement over Planned Parenthood funding, before the government runs out of money and there is a repeat of the shutdown two years ago. Obama met with top Democrats on Thursday in an attempt to avoid a shutdown, according to CNN, but the situation didn’t appear to have been resolved by Saturday when he used his weekly online and radio address to urge the Republican controlled Congress to pass a budget in time to prevent shutdown.
Despite the urgency betrayed in the President’s speech, according to Bloomberg, there is no need to panic just yet: the paper said last week that “Three weeks is an eternity by Wall Street standards.” Still, the uncertainty is likely to keep markets on edge.
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