As the federal government enters its second week of a partial shutdown, caused by the inability of Congress to reach agreement on continued funding, there is no clear path to resolving the impasse. It seems likely that any deal on FY14 spending will be combined with legislation to raise the debt limit—which Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned must be raised by October 17. However, the harmful effects of the shutdown and the potential economic turmoil of a government default have not prompted any apparent willingness to end the standoff.
House Republicans not only want to change the Affordable Care Act but are also discussing a list of additional policy priorities they would exchange for continued government funding and raising the debt limit. According to published accounts, the list could include such proposals as means testing Medicare and revising the formula for Social Security payments, as well as a framework for tax reform. Democrats say they will not discuss a broader fiscal deal until Republicans first agree to a “clean” short term funding measure and debt ceiling increase.
The continued shutdown has implications for the University of Oregon, especially for federally funded research. The UO office for Research, Innovation and Graduate Education issued a message directed to the research community following the announcement of the shutdown on October 1 and launched a website to provide information to faculty about the shutdown. The Office of Strategic Communications is also featuring faculty comments about the shutdown at AroundtheO.