This is a decent little overview that doesn't get into the all the little details and hoops that are jumped through. Right now we have two political parties that most people align with. Governor Bob McDonald said it best in a radio interview I heard. "Two sides come to the table with what they want. Neither side will likely get everything they want, but hopefully we'll get legislation everyone can live with."
So if something is a good idea and both sides can agree on it then it should get through to the President with no problem. If there's something that can't be agreed on then we go to committee and its argued about. Negotiations are had, compromising is done, and deals are made. Again, we hopefully end up with legislation everyone can live with. Its balance, and that's important.
So where did we come off the rails? Due to imbalance.
For a while one side had a "Super majority" which was described by Jon Stewart as a "Grizzly bear with chainsaws for hands". One party had enough representatives to completely push the other party off to the side. This is never good. Super majorities are bad because it provides too much power to one side and that side can forget that they don't speak for everybody.
The United States of America is not a democracy. A democracy is mob rule. If you don't enshrine individual rights first then democracies can be utterly horrible. Example: me and my buddy want your Playstation. You don't want to give us your Playstation. We vote. 2 against 1. We get your Playstation. That's democracy. However, you have a right to your property, and there's laws about that. So the vote does not matter, because we can't legally take your Playstation?
People have somehow forgotten in all the rhetoric and bile being spewed all over that these two parties and the representative in power are representatives. So when one side gets froze out, those are people whose voices are not heard. One side had enough power to ingore people that they had the ability to make laws for. Yikes. However, people don't like imbalance and then 2010 happened. Each party controlled a side of Congress. This is supposed to be a good thing.
For those a little shakey on why the government shutdown happened, the Congress has not passed a annual budget in five years. This goes back to when one side had that super majority so it wasn't parties bickering that started this. Without a proper budget that government has been using "continuing resolutions" to keep things funded, which really is a stupid way to do things. That's just flat out not doing your job.
A continuing resolution came up, and the House added in that they wanted to defund the Affordable Care Act. They want to do this because the House is currently controlled by Republicans and no Republican voted for this act nor were they consulted it the formation of the bill that was voted on. They were froze out and not considered. This means the people they represented were not being considered. That's never good so they are working hard to get rid of that law and get, again, legislation we can all live with. That bill went to the Democrat controlled Senate and the Senate said "no". OK, the Republicans sent another bill over with a different request. Again, blocked. Finally they asked for the individual mandate in the ACA be postponed a year just as the mandate on businesses was. Again, no go. The Senate wanted a check with no strings attatched. The shutdown happened.
This isn't the first time this has happened. Its happened 17 times before under 5 different presidents. Each time the president got in there and negotiated to get things going again. I'm not a huge fan of President Clinton, but the when the government shut down on his watch, he was in there everyday working to hammer out a deal. And he did it. Like him or not, the guy handled his business. The difference is we now have President Obama who said, when his party had the super majority, "Republicans can come along for the ride, but they have to sit in the back." He's refusing to negotiate. He's not doing his job. Probably why he's currently enjoying a 37% approval rating while Clinton's rating was over 60%.
One side does not get to make all the rules. Doesn't matter which side it is. These parties are supposed to be talking to each other and trying to figure this out. Not only is the Senate refusing to do this, but they aren't even considering the bills the House have been sending over funding parts of the government to try to lessen the impact of the shutdwon on the people. And if you're ready to rail against Republicans as the talking heads on TV have been so eager to do, consider this. If the situation was reversed and it was Democrats trying to have negotiate and it was a Republican controlled Senate refusing to have any of it and a Republican President sitting back and just scolding your representative for not just doing as they're told, would you like that?
Then we have those people who holler about term limits and get rid of everyone in Congress. People have the ultimate rule on term limits. You don't like your representative, then vote to replace them. However, it seems that many of the people who yell about getting rid of those in Congress don't have a problem with their representives. "They're all horrible... except for my guy."
This'll keep going for a bit. Part of me sort of wishes they Republicans had just gone along with CR so we could all focus on the massive fail that the ACA has been this week. There's talk on the debt ceiling now. Typical BS. Those not in power are against it, while those in power are for it even though they said it was a horrible idea when they weren't in power. Don't worry too much about this. A law was passed a while back that prevents us from defaulting on our debt because we much pay the interest on it to avoid default.
So, hang in there folks. The shutdown does suck, but its been this bad before. We got through it then, and we'll do so again. You can't count on the Government for everything. It up to us to do what we can for ourselves, and when necessary help those who need it.
Be good to each other.
And talk with each other, not at each other.
Because that's what caused the problem.