On Friday Congress passed and the President signed legislation that will prevent another partial government shutdown like the one last month that captured headlines for weeks. But beyond the headlines, the shutdown also served as a very public reminder of a widespread reality in urgent need of solutions: far too many American families are a paycheck away from financial distress.
The title of the undisputed hit song of this past summer, before the government shutdown, Blurred Lines,* lacks a reference to Congress (or rest assured it would have been a dud). But it captures what politicians and others in Washington have done in the hopes that voters don't catch them causing damage to our lives and the broader economy.
You might not be familiar with the tax on medical devices - pacemakers, artificial joints and the like - that's emerged as an unlikely issue in the battle over a government shutdown. Here's a primer.
A government shutdown could take an especially painful toll on one group of Americans: veterans and their families who are waiting for benefits claims to be processed.
Once again, the federal government will run out of money in a few days unless Congress acts. And once again, partisan gridlock is hampering action.
So ... what exactly happens if the government shuts down? If the White House and congressional Republicans can't come to an agreement, we'll find out. Right now a temporary resolution is funding the government. That's set to expire next Friday.
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