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4 Things You Missed While the Government was Shutdown

October 24, 2013

Jenna Rush ’14

These past weeks headlines across the nation concentrated on the government shutdown and Congress’ inability to reach an agreement on appropriating funds for the 2014 fiscal year.  While everyone’s eyes werefocused on the shutdown, other newsworthy events around the nation went unnoticed.  The following are four of the biggest stories that got left behind:

1. Janet Yellen was nominated to serve as the next chair of the Federal Reserve

On October 9th President Obama announced that he was nominating Janet Yellen to serve as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.  Should the Senate confirm her, Mrs. Yellen will be the first woman to hold the. Her confirmation is likely to go through smoothly.  Yellen currently serves as the Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman.

2. Malala Yousafzai visited the White House

On October 11th Malala Yousafzai met privately with President Barak Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia Obama.  Yousafzai is the 16-year-old Pakistani student who was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out in support of the right of girls to attend school.  President Obama and his family wanted to thank her for her inspiring work for girls’ education.  During the visit Yousafzai expressed her concerns that U.S. drone attacks against targets in Pakistan are fueling terrorism.  She, like others around the world, sees’ innocent people killed in these attacks, breeding resentment among the Pakistani public.  She encouraged the President to refocus issues on education.

3. Medal of Honor awarded to Captain William D. Swenson

On October 15th, President Obama awarded Captain Swenson the military’s highest honor.  Captain Swenson received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during an ambush in Afghanistan on September 8th, 2009. During the ambush Captain Swenson repeatedly called for air and artillery support, yet recieved none  Despite not receiving any aid, Captain Swenson valiantly fought to save his comrades in the middle of a storm of bullets.  He is the sixth living person to receive the Medal of Honor for service in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

4. The overshadowing of the rollout of Obamacare

One of the more ironic aspects of the government shutdown was that it overshadowed the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (widely known as Obamacare).  Republicans in particular missed the spotlight opportunity to fault the program for the website glitches that hindered thousands of people as they tried to explore the online insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov.  During a time when Americans should have been asking tough questions about the program, news outlets focused instead on the shutdown.  Many Democrats argue that the glitches in the online program prove how many Americans want insurance.  Despite perceived shortcomings and achievements during the rollout, the fact of the matter is that such issues were put on the backburner due to the shutdown.

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