So, the government might shut down tonight at midnight. Awesome! "Mad Max"-style anarchy, coming our way! (Metro is looking for challengers who want to fight us in the Thunderdome, as we speak!)
The basic issues are these: Congressional Democrats say that they and the Republicans are close to a budget numerically, but that negotiations have been held up by social issues, namely sexual health and environmental regulation. The GOP has indicated it wants to devolve federal government's support of Planned Parenthood to the state level, where legislatures can decide which kind of "women's health" they want to fund. (As Jezebel points out, this would not be good.) Republicans also want to restrict the EPA's authority to regulate carbon emissions, because, hey, why not?
(It should also be noted here, of course, that Democrats have also implemented social policy changes through spending bills, though they say that they've never done it with a shutdown hanging over everyone's heads.)
So here's where we stand now:
»Legislators in both houses of Congress are fighting a PR battle in the wake of news that — unlike many other federal employees — they will continue to be paid during the shutdown that they caused. Already House Speaker John Boehner is saying he'll forgo his paycheck, and NBC News' Luke Russert is leading a Twitter campaign for voters to convince their Senators and representatives to do the same.
»Meanwhile, both parties continue to blame each other. (Shocking, we know.) Harry Reid is blaming the Tea Party and their "extreme social agenda," which makes sense but is also odd if you think about it for a few seconds because the Tea Party just a bunch of protesters, not people in suits in Washington, right? Meanwhile, Boehner has said that Democrats are "not serious" about cutting spending, which sort of true, but also sort of means "not serious about taking money away from the people we want to take it away from and give it to the people we want to give it to."
When the federal government shut down under then-President Bill Clinton in 1995, passport and visa offices closed.
Essential operations like public safety and public hospitals will remain open — and unfortunately, parking rules would remain in effect.
Taxes, meanwhile, will still be due April 18