Quick Update from the Land of the Budget Stalemate

I’m in America for what has been to date a pretty great trip. I’m a bit exhausted, as I’ve travelled around the US East Coast quite a bit for having only been here for ten days; I’ve been as far north as Boston and as far south as Miami and to many points in between. But at the end of a great week, I find myself in New York City having the best of days and the worst of days. I’m having the most fun here that I’ve had in a long time; I’ve been living out scenes from movies or TV or something. I went to a gallery opening/performance art installation in Chelsea last night, then out for dinner near the Highline and out for drinks in the East Village. (I didn’t know what any of those place names meant before yesterday, as I’ve never spent much time in NYC!) I should be looking forward to a great week ahead but I’m sitting here seething because the US government is about to potentially shut down and ruin most of my plans for next week. I was supposed to be spending a few days visiting colleagues at a US government laboratory. If the budget stalemate stands, I will not be able to work with them. I was supposed to be taking a family vacation to the Grand Canyon with my parents and sister, but if the budget stalemate stands, I will not be able to visit this national park. Suddenly this little bit of political theatre is f%^&*ing up my plans for a full week and a bit more, and I’m absolutely livid thinking about it. I know I’ve read commentary in the UK news, being all typically smug and superior and saying “this would never happen here” and that may be true, but it also should not be possible that this is happening in the US. While I am upset about the things that will affect me personally, I am even more upset about the prospect of the military having to still fight but not get paid in combat zones. People, this is not acceptable. Until I moved to the UK I did not know active military personnel, but now I do and I am outraged on their behalf. And I am just generally irritated at the toxic nature of American partisan politics. Normally I’d be back in the UK and talking–as I did around the time of the election–about the fact that I did not miss being in the US when politics got really nasty. Now I’m here for it and I just want to click my heels three times and be back in the UK, all while simultaneously seeing my military and government employee friends not get shafted by a bunch of congressional millionaires who have no idea how their games will affect the lives of normal people… grrrrrrrrrr.

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6 responses to “Quick Update from the Land of the Budget Stalemate

  1. If the government shuts down, my retired-Marine brother-in-law will be denied his retirement pay. My sister, a therapist at the naval hospital on-base, will not be paid. (These, by the way, are the people who have opened their home to me and my cats, to help me out while I try to get back on my feet. I’m moving at the end of the month.)

    Over on his blog, my father mentioned the “muffin lady” in D.C. who sells muffins and such out of a cart in/around the Capitol. The politicians who won’t be working there will still get THEIR salaries, but they won’t be there to buy her muffins and support her livelihood.

    And it’s all coming down to the GOP’s insane demand that Planned Parenthood be defunded. If THAT happens, I and millions of other women (and men) don’t have affordable access to reproductive healthcare, from pap smears and birth control to basic checkups and I don’t know what else.

    Livid doesn’t begin to cover it.

  2. This literally couldn’t happen here in the UK because if a government can’t get its budget through parliament it falls and there is a general election. Not of course that that is any consolation to the USA…

  3. Looks like you got a reprieve. They were threatening a shut down when we were there at the end of February. This has been going on too long.

  4. I’m glad your plans didn’t get messed up. I was watching TV (of course – now that I’m an American citizen….) and they actually had the news come across the screen as an alert the way flash flood warnings do. I agree that it’s a ridiculous situation, and it’s been going on in California for years with furloughs and proposed ‘ious’ instead of disability/unemployment payments. Seethe……

  5. It’s mostly posturing which is resolved in a couple of days as compromises are made. I doubt that the US government has frequently experienced shut-down over budgetary battles for an extended period of time.

  6. I’m glad it didn’t happen. Agree it is a ridiculous situation – and sadly, Amit, it has happened before, during the Clinton administration for several weeks. Seems crazy that a few politicians can hold the country to ransom.

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