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Government shutdown effects trickle down to Ohio State

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In day two of the government shutdown, some Ohio State community members said they are concerned large portions of their department’s funding come from the government.

A disagreement between the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate over an unapproved budget forced the first federal shutdown in 17 years Monday at midnight.

The controversy surrounding the disputed budget and government shutdown involved a debate about how the government would begin funding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care initiative, which went into effect Tuesday.

The act, often referred to as “Obamacare,” was signed into law March 23, 2010. The law is set to prevent insurance companies from turning people away because of pre-existing medical conditions and extending care to children of policy owners until age 26.

Congress could not decide upon a budget to pass by Monday at midnight, pushing the government into a shutdown. Federal workers who fall in a category considered “essential” continued working without pay, while “non-essential” workers had a half-day to prepare Tuesday before being furloughed, meaning they were given a temporary unpaid leave. Active-service military members are set to be paid, though, however long the shutdown lasts, according to The Washington Post.

Some of the “essential” departments include the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. military. The “non-essential” departments include the National Park Service, some of the Social Security Administration and most of NASA.

Some OSU students said the shutdown did not come as a shock.

“I don’t think it is surprising. This has been where it has been heading for a while, and I don’t think it’s going to be resolved in the short term,” said Todd Ficeto, a graduate student in pharmacology.

Representatives of the OSU Office of Research voiced concerns about a long-term shutdown, though.

Linda Neidhardt, the executive assistant to the vice president for Research, Caroline Whitacre, said the Office of Research relies heavily on federal funding.

“About 5,000 students, faculty and staff receive at least some part of their salary from federal sources each semester and about $400 million of our fiscal year 2013 expenditures of the $493 million came from the federal government,” Neidhardt said.

Cayla Johnston, a second-year in economics and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, also said she felt the situation was a long time coming.

“It is very clear that our government officials aren’t able or willing to come together to reach an agreement and this speaks a lot about how our government works,” Johnston said.

Sarah Montell, a third-year in public affairs, said she was upset about the shutdown.

“It make(s) me angry. The time would be better spent arguing health care reform alternatives instead of being stubborn and stopping all dialogue,” Montell said.

Montell works for the Ohio Department of Health’s Help Me Grow program, which works to give Ohio children healthy starts to life, and said even though the furlough will not affect her personally, it will affect many people in Central Ohio.

“WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) will stop receiving funds and there are mothers that rely heavily on this program,” Montell said.

There is no word yet on how long it will take to approve a federal budget.

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