Why did the government shut down? Congress has one key duty in the Constitution -- pass spending bills that fund the government. If it doesn't, most functions of government -- from funding agencies to paying out small business loans and processing passport requests -- grinds to a halt. But some services, like Social Security, air traffic control and active military pay, will continue to be funded. Oh, and Congress still gets paid, too. 1. Why does it have to pass a spending bill in the middle of the year? It may be the middle of the calendar year, but the government's fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. 2. What was the holdup?
House Republicans insist any new spending bill include provisions to either defund, derail or otherwise chip away at Obamacare. Senate Democrats are just as insistent that it doesn't. 3. How is Obamacare tied to the spending bill?
The health care law isn't directly tied to funding the government, but it's being used as a bargaining chip. A group of Republicans, led by freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, believe the president's signature domestic policy achievement is so bad for the country that it is worth disrupting go...