by Colleen Flaherty
Due to a small faction of the GOP obsessed with defunding the Affordable Care Act at all costs, the U.S. House of Representatives refused to pass a bipartisan Continuing Resolution, which led to a federal government shutdown.
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“It should never have come to this. Once more, the refusal of the far right House Republicans to compromise has ended badly for the American people, with the federal government shutting down for the first time since 1996,” said NEA President and Arizona teacher Dennis Van Roekel.
Now, with the House GOP refusal to compromise, the federal government has been shut down for the first time in 17 years, impacting even more services that are already reeling from sequester cuts. The shutdown will result in 800,000 federal workers furloughed, and if the shutdown should continue, programs for students and low-income families will continue to suffer. Access to national parks and museums, resources for field trips, will be among the casualties. And still, compromise over ending the reckless cuts triggered by the sequester, remains elusive.
“The refusal to compromise also means a continuation of harmful sequester cuts. Millions of students—especially those with the greatest needs—will pay the price for years to come if the harmful sequester cuts to education continue. Already 57,000 children have lost access to Head Start. Due to the government shutdown, 19,000 additional children will lose access to these critical services that will help them succeed in life. Congress must reverse this austerity course, invest in our children’s education and get America moving again,” said Van Roekel.
“They must end their obsession with stopping the Affordable Care Act that helps millions of children with preexisting conditions receive healthcare coverage. It is ironic that the opponents of the ACA have shut down the government the very same day that enrollment in the ACA is beginning – the shutdown is not preventing that from happening. It is simply causing more pain to American families and our economy.
“Our students, and our country deserve better. It is time to put students and the American people ahead of uncompromising, partisan politics.”
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