United States Government Shutdown Shakes the Country

By Anna Shaw

Just after midnight on October 17th, 2013, President Barack Obama signed a bill that ended the 16-day government shutdown which had furloughed 800,000 federal workers and led the U.S. to the brink of government default (when the country is unable to pay back its bills due to reaching its debt ceiling).

The bill funds the government until January 15 and lifts the debt ceiling until February 7, thereby raising the amount of money the U.S. can borrow. The bill also provides for coverage of the costs suffered by states during the shutdown and backpay for furloughed workers.

Forbes stated that Virginia was the state most affected by the shutdown, while D.C. placed 4th. Loudoun County specifically was impacted by the shutdown, since according to the Bureau of Labor, 16% of adults in the county work for the government.  

Senior Matt Dotson said, “My dad was furloughed for 3 days, and it was strange seeing him out of work.  We weren’t sure if he was [going to] get paid or not, so it made us nervous.”  

Like Dotson, junior Mason Cox has a mother and a stepfather who are contractors for the government. He says that his family was “crossing [their] fingers that the contract would go on. If [my mother’s] contract didn’t need to be completed until the government [reopened], she wouldn’t get paid.”  

 Although the shutdown has ended, many students remain skeptical of the government’s ability to stay running. When asked if he thought the government would shut down again after funding ends on January 15, Dotson said, “It’s a possibility due to the lack of cooperation we’re seeing from Congress and the president.”

Some students also feel the government isn’t taking the shutdown as seriously as it should. “I feel like everyone’s being unprofessional about it,” said Dotson, while Cox added his belief that members of Congress are more worried about how much money they’re going to make in the future, not the economical security of our country.