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Tag Archive: shutdown 2013

The Politics of the Government Shutdown – In One Chart


As the government shutdown begins, so does the blame game. Is it Republicans’ fault? Democrats’ fault? While the endless speculation keeps pundits busy, it’s important to remember that members of Congress don’t care about “the public” in the abstract. They care about the public in their district. We say “district” because any deal to re-start the government will require agreement by both the House and the Senate. While senators, with their broader constituencies, have to worry more about voters in the center, no such pressure exists for most House members. A quick analysis finds roughly seven in eight House Republicans (86.6 percent, to be exact, or 201 of 232) won with at least 55 percent of the vote in 2012. Additionally, 140 Republicans (60.3 percent of the caucus) won with at least 60 percent of the vote. The chart below shows the distribution of seats by margin of victory. Note: most Democrats also come from safe seats.   house_shares

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What Happens to .gov in a Shutdown?


john boehner with a thought bubble saying 'sudo shutdown -h now'

A federal government shutdown looks more likely by the hour, and there's no shortage of explainers on the web about what it all means (Wonkblog is an excellent place to start, as is our rundown from the 2011 shutdown fight). The line between "excepted" (gets to keep working) and "non-excepted" (gets shut down) is drawn on an agency-by-agency basis, and the specific determination is based on the importance of the function and how illegal ceasing to do it might be. But aside from some obvious ones--national parks would be closed; the CO2 scrubber on the International Space Station would stay plugged in--it'll be agency leadership that makes the determinations. But what will this mean for the federal web?

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