News, Politics

U.S. Government Partially Shut Down

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Image: Pete Souza
Barack Obama is facing enormous backlash from Republicans. Image: Pete Souza

The U.S. government was partially shut down on Monday.

More than 800,000 government workers were forced to stop working. They won’t get paid during the shutdown.

More than 400 public sites that are run by the federal government were closed. They include national parks, monuments such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, historic sites, lakeshores and walking trails.

About 97 per cent of NASA employees will be sent home during the shutdown, according to The Washington Post newspaper.

Only “essential” workers—for instance, people who maintain the International Space Station—will continue working during the shutdown.

The shutdown was caused by a disagreement between the Democratic and Republican political parties in the U.S. Congress.

Many Republicans don’t want a new healthcare law (nicknamed “Obamacare”), which U.S. President Barack Obama (a Democrat) is championing, to be put in place.

In order to protest the law, Congress voted against a funding bill.

That protest resulted in a lack of money for many government services, and caused the partial shutdown.

(The shutdown is the result of a complicated series of political events. On the news website CNN, there is a more detailed article, in question-and-answer format, outlining what led to the shutdown.)

It has been 17 years since the U.S. government was shut down. That happened with Bill Clinton was president, in 1995.

No one knows how long the shutdown will last.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Republicans and Democrats disagree about Barack Obama’s health care plan. As a result, government workers throughout the U.S. are unable to work. What should be done to support these individuals? How strategies would you suggest to help these two sides to come to an agreement?

Reading Prompt: Text Patterns
Today’s article explains the current government shutdown in the United States by describing cause and effect. Why is using a “cause and effect” text pattern helpful in understanding an explanation? What other text patterns could help a reader gain a deeper understanding of the text they are reading?

Junior
Identify a variety of organizational patterns in a range of texts and explain how they help readers understand the texts (OME, Reading: 2.2).

Intermediate
Analyse increasingly complex texts to identify organizational patterns used in them and explain how the patterns help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.2).

Grammar Feature: Nouns vs. Verbs
Different words do different things. Action words are “verbs” and “nouns” refer to a person, place, or thing. But some words can be both. For example, when written as one word, “shutdown” is a noun. However, when written as two, “shut down,” it becomes a verb. Today’s article contains examples of both,

“The U.S. government was partially shut down on Monday.”

“They won’t get paid during the shutdown.”

With this in mind, use either “shutdown” or “shut down” in the phrases below to complete the sentences.

1. The ________________________ at the factory meant that no one was able to buy a bike.

2. At the end of the day, the students were asked to ____________________ their computers.

3. Winnona ___________________________ and wouldn’t listen to reason.

4. The National Hockey League __________________________ in 2012 was very sad for millions of hockey fans.