Shutdown Could Bring Gains and Losses For Both Parties

By Max Resnik

April 7, 2011 Updated Apr 7, 2011 at 5:29 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – After meeting with President Obama at the White House last night, Congressional leaders were back on Capitol Hill today to compromise on the 2011 budget but were unable to come to an agreement.

A Federal Government shutdown might not bode well for either side according to Andy Downs of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics. Downs says the Republicans are playing a similar hand that backfired on them in 1995 and 1996.

Downs says, “They [Republicans] thought that it would make the president [Clinton] look bad. That's the way they positioned it and unfortunately for them, it did not. So right now, I'm sure both sides, in terms of the House and Senate and both parties within the House and Senate, as well as the White House, they are all beginning to calculate the political capital that will get lost or spent if a shutdown occurs.”

Downs says Republicans could paint Democrats as sore losers, referring to the number of seats they lost in 2010. Downs also says the right could portray the left as irresponsible spenders in a poor economy.

Republicans, according to Downs, could suffer the same fate as they did in 1995 and 1996. Newt Gingrich, who currently is exploring the option of a presidential run, was Speaker of the House and pushed for the government shutdown in the 90s. According to Downs, the backlash Republicans suffered, as the result of the shutdown, was a contributing factor to Gingrich’s resignation as House Speaker.

Until the shutdown plays out it will be hard to decipher who takes a hit and who sees some gains according to Downs.

Downs also says this shutdown could legitimately affect the outcome of the 2012 races.

WASHINGTON D.C. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – If Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on the 2011 budget and the 12 appropriations that comprise that budget, the Federal Government will shutdown Friday.

So what does the shutdown mean?

-Social Security: Checks will still be in the mail. It is possible that some could get delayed because some Social Security Administration employees will receive furloughs.

-Medicare: Patients can still seek care. New applicants to Medicare though will be delayed.

-Homeland Security and Defense: Military operations and border security will be maintained.

-Mail: Mailboxes will be stuffed like any other day. The United States Postal Service is part of the Federal Government but is unaffected by a shutdown.

-National Parks, Museums and Monuments: Most of these will be closed so don’t plan any last minute Spring Break trips.

-Passports: No new passports will be issued and most of their operations will be suspended. In emergency situations they will be available.

-IRS: The IRS will close its doors, but that doesn’t mean paying taxes becomes an option. They are still due by April 18. Tax Returns most likely will be delayed.

-Veterans Services: Vets will be able to seek the care they need.

-Government Loans: The Federal Housing Association will not be approving new home loan guarantees.

Each agency and department within the Federal Government has its own procedures for a shutdown. Each will operate differently and once the shutdown occurs, it is also possible that some agencies will be re-examining just how many employees they need to operate at a minimal level.

Republicans are hoping for about $61 billion in cuts to the budget. Democrats are hoping for about $33 billion in cuts to the budget. Meeting in the middle does not seem to be an option at this point because each side feels as though they have made enough concessions.

So what can happen between today and Friday to prevent the shutdown?

One of two things needs to happen.

One: The government passes another continuing resolution that allows the government to do business for a short time. The shutdown, under this solution, would still be probable.

Two: The government passes the 2011 budget and there is no shutdown.

As of right now, signs are pointing in the direction of a shutdown.

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