VFTH: Why is it happening, and how is the Affordable Care Act factoring in?
JR: The simple answer is that the House and Senate can’t agree on how to keep the government open. The Senate has passed a continuing resolution that would fund the government through December, the House has passed resolutions that would do that, but they also have added delays and defunding of the Affordable Care Act. There is zero chance that the Senate or President Obama will agree to that.
VFTH: Has this kind of thing happened recently?
JR: This has happened before, the last time was late 1995/early 1996.
VFTH: What are some of the most important political motivations among key politicians in both the House and the Senate causing this to happen?
JR: A small group of House Republicans is committed to demonstrating how much they dislike Obamacare. That is the biggest issue here.
VFTH: What does a government shutdown entail? What public sectors will it affect? Could it affect universities like UNC at all?
JR: Only “non-essentially” services will shut down, so things like the FAA will keep going. Parks and museums will close and many federal employees will be furloughed without pay. It should not affect universities immediately, but could if it persists.
VFTH: What do you think is most likely to happen? Will party leaders settle differences and pass a budget bill in time?
JR: Most likely outcome is a shutdown tonight. At some point — no idea when — the House Republicans will give up their quest to defund/delay Obamacare and a new continuing resolution will pass.