What the Government Shutdown Means for You and Your Family
Because of the inability of the Republican House majority to pass a budget unless it denies life-saving healthcare coverage to millions of Americans, the federal government shut down at midnight tonight. Unfortunately, this means that many services that our citizens rely on – including IRS call centers, regulatory agencies, and certain functions of the Social Security Administration and Small Business Administration – will be closed until a funding agreement can be reached. I plan to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on a resolution, and hope Congress can get back to the people's work of creating jobs, growing our economy, strengthening education, passing immigration reform, and helping children and families across the nation strive for a brighter future.
Open for Business
You can contact any of my offices with questions or concerns about the shutdown, its impacts and what I can do to help you.
- Assistance with a federal agency. You can still contact me with issues about an issue with a Federal Agency, however I may not be able to complete your request until the government reopens.
- Implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment into the health exchanges begins tonight. Learn more about how Covered California can make health care more accessible and afforable.
- All other services. Please contact my San Jose or Washington, DC office with any questions about the status of a service I offer.
- Tour & Flag Requests. Unfortunately, the U.S. Capitol is closed to tourists and all tours are being cancelled day-by-day as the shutdown continues.
Share Your Story & Stay Up to Date
Tell me how the government shutdown is affecting you, your family, your work or your business. Post your comments to my blog or email me. Also, sign up for my newsletter to get the latest updates about the government shutdown.
Understand the Shutdown
Here are some of the basics about the shutdown. Learn more about its impact on technology and the innovation capital of the nation.
1. What causes a government shutdown? According to the Constitution, Congress must pass laws to spend money. If Congress can't agree on a spending bill the government does not have the legal authority to spend money.
2. What's a continuing resolution (CR)? Congress used to spend money by passing a budget first, then 12 separate appropriations bills. Congress uses a stopgap continuing resolution (CR) that maintains spending at current levels for all or part of the year.
3. What is the problem? The Republican-controlled House has passed a spending bill that maintains spending levels but does not provide funding to implement the Affordable Care Act. The Senate insists that the program be fully funded and that Congress pass what they call a "clean" CR.
4. What is a "clean" CR? "Clean" means free from ideological policy riders, such as defunding Obamacare. Basically, it's a CR without policy changes.
5. Why is this happening now? The government runs on a fiscal year from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Shutdowns can happen at other times of the year when Congress passes a partial-year spending bill.
6. Could agencies ignore the shutdown? Under a federal law known as the Anti-Deficiency Act, it can be a felony to spend taxpayer money without an appropriation from Congress.