In 2013, from October first to the sixteenth, the United States Federal government was shut down. This does not mean that every part of the government ceased functioning. However, it does mean that many “non essential” federal government employees were furloughed. Why did this happen? Well, superficially, it is because Congress could not decide on how the government should be funded. However, to truly understand, one has to know why the members of Congress disagree. When the situation is looked at closely it is found that the cause of the shutdown is indirectly the result of fundamental value differences of the Democrats and Republicans, and how those values translate to the policy goals of each party.
The Facts: How did the Shutdown Happen?
A major policy goal of Democratic President Barak Obama in his first presidential term was to pass a healthcare reform. He succeeded in passing the reform in 2010 because the Democrats had a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. After the 2010 Congressional elections, the Republican party took the majority in the House of Representatives and managed to delay the start of the reform until October 2013. They were hoping for a Republican president to be elected in 2012. However, Obama was reelected, and the law was set to be put into effect in October 2013.
The Funding Bill for the following fiscal year also had to be approved by October 1. Congress was at odds regarding what the funding bill should look like. A few days before October 1 the House of Representatives passed a bill that delayed the implementation of the healthcare reform for one year and repealed the tax on medical devices. The senate refused this proposal. They continued to try to come to a resolution. Time went on; October 1st came and with it came a government shutdown.
These events specifically describe what led to the shutdown. However, to really understand what was going on, we have to know not only what happened but why it happened. What do Democrats and Republicans believe that makes them disagree so significantly on the healthcare reform?
The Reasons: Why did the Shutdown Happen?
I believe that the gridlock on the healthcare reform that caused the shutdown can partly be reduced to the simple fundamental values of bigger government versus smaller government. Republicans believe in a smaller government. They say smaller government is better because they believe that individuals will solve their problems on their own, given the chance. They believe the difference in individual outcomes derived from smaller government will be a motivation for people to work hard for themselves and their family. (“We Believe in America,” 2012). On the other hand, the Democratic Party believes in a larger government. They believe that given the chance, elite corporate companies will do everything they can to receive profit weather or not it is in the interest of the public good, and that would not be good for the American...