The government is shut down.
The U.S. Air Force Academy has suspended travel, which threatens to cancel its game against Navy this weekend. And me and city reporter Tyler Cleveland couldn't even officially figure out how many Hispanics live in Jackson because the U.S. Census Bureau website is shut down. So we guesstimated the population be around 417,382ish, give or take.
By now, we all know what got us here.
Republicans in U.S. House of Representatives who still want to defund Obamacare pegged the health law to raising the debt ceiling. Leading up to the vote, there was a lot and back and forth about the pros and cons of Obamacare, the bulk of which went into effect today. There was also seemed to be an unusually high volume of congressional letter writing.
One such letter came from sometimes JFP columnist Jed Oppenheim, who shared his letter to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker with me. It reads, in part:
"I am deeply troubled that you represent a state that is the least healthy in the country, has the greatest poverty, obesity, infant immortality and other negative life indicator rates in the country; and we are on the brink of closing hospitals and medical care due to not expanding medicaid, yes you continue to waste countless taxpayer dollars on a fruitless fight against a bill that has NEVER been allowed to succeed by the GOP. The time, money and manipulatives spent trying to prevent the implementation of Obamacare could have been used on our schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and military veterans to name a few. Yet nothing of this sort from the GOP--meaning nothing of this sort from our 'do-nothing' government."
Wow -- compelling and rich.
One would expect that such an impassioned pro-Obamacare missive would elicit a let's-agree-to-disagree form letter from Wicker's office. Here's what he wrote:
"Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for defunding and repealing the President's health-care law. I am glad to have the benefit of your views on this issue, and I agree that this massive government overhaul of health care in America should be fully repealed," Wicker's letter said.
Um, that's not exactly what Jed's letter said.
It actually said the opposite of that, but clearly Wicker isn't reading his mail.
No wonder the government's shut down.