Thursday, April 24 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:47:30 GMT
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So how long could the government shutdown potentially last, and how does it affect the average citizen?
Dr. Nicole Kalaf-Hughes, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University, says it won't have an immediate effect on most people, unless it drags on.
"The big problem is on the grand scale when people aren't getting paid," Dr. Kalaf-Hughes said. "Federal employees aren't getting paid, the economy is losing money. So you're not seeing the revenue we typically have in our economy, and that's where, down the line, the average person could start to feel the effects of this."
In the mid ‘90s, the government shut down for 21 days, the longest the government has ever been shut down. Professor Kalaf-Hughes says there's reason to believe the current situation could be resolved quickly, but there's also the potential for it to drag on.
"They estimate Oct. 17 [is when] we hit our, essentially, the debt ceiling, and that's when we need to revise that in some way to continue spending," she said. "If we don't revise it by then, we're going to run into more problems."
So what if Congress doesn't reach an agreement by Oct. 17?
"We could potentially see a drop in our credit rating," Kalaf-Hughes said. "At that point, we go into default, and that's something that's never happened before, so that would be an incredibly big deal."
But Professor Kalaf-Hughes also says we're in a different political climate now than in the 1990s.
"You have people who are very far apart ideologically now, and you have less of a sense of compromise now, at least in my opinion," she said. "So it almost feels like the potential for [the shutdown] to drag on longer is there."