october 1, 2013
texas a&m since 1893
l first paper free – additional copies $1 l © 2013 student media
‘Obamacare’ exchanges Parts of government
The George Bush Presidential Library could be among closures caused by the government shutdown.
Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION
Graphics by William Guerra — THE BATTALION
Sunday House vote
Monday Senate vote
Happy b-day to The Batt On this day 120 years ago, a handful of cadets were gifted the opportunity to produce a newspaper. The first editor-in-chief, E.L. Bruce, wrote in a salutary address in that first issue of his goal to “long have a paper that can claim its rank high up among the literary editions of every college in the Union.” Here’s to you, Mr. Bruce. Jake Walker, editor-in-chief
inside campus | 2 BUILD project begins Saturday Campus organizations will come together to aid in the building of houses for Bryan-College Station families, as part of a service project called BUILD.
gsc | 4 Grad council to aim for later classes Graduate Student Council will discuss issues concerning graduate students Tuesday, including a proposal to change the time of classes that conflict with student work schedules.
(Left) The House of Representatives passed a spending bill Sunday with an amendment to push implementation of the Affordable Care Act by one year. (Right) Senate Democrats voted Monday to send the clean bill back to the House.
affordable care act
Budget bill stalls, furloughs follow
Exchanges open Tuesday
Health care entanglement in spending bill results in 1st shutdown since 1996
Health care bill takes step in implementation process
Annabelle Hutchinson & Allison Rubenak
ongress failed to approve a 2014 spending plan Monday night, leaving the U.S. to enter the new fiscal year in a government shutdown. This shutdown, the first federal shutdown in 17 years, is the product of a stalemate between the Republican House and the Democratic Senate over the Affordable Care Act amendments on this year’s spending bill. The government shutdown will require all federal employees deemed non-necessary to go on a furlough — a forced holiday without pay — and the effects could be felt at the local level. Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said the shutdown could spell bad news for any such employees at Texas A&M and in Bryan-College Station, depending on how long it lasts. “How federal pause or shutdown impacts us is mostly a function of how long such an interruption [would] last,” Sharp said. “In the short term, we would not anticipate any significant disruption. If shutdown continues beyond several weeks into months, then we would have to reassess the situation, particularly in our research arenas.” The shutdown could affect research by forcing University researchers with federal grants to place their experiments on hold — experiments that may be in critical stages and require timely attention. University President R. Bowen Loftin issued a similar statement, and said that while he did not expect disruption from a short-term federal government shutdown, areas of the University and local services could face uncertainty in the case of a long-term shutdown. “We do not expect a disruption in operations due to a federal government shutdown,” Loftin said. “From research projects, airport operations or federal financial aid, University functions in the short time See Shutdown on page 3
What are your thoughts on the government shutdown?
Texas votes in House
Penalties under the Affordable Care Act for those who fail to purchase insurance coverage will take effect in 2014 and increase each year until 2016.
“I think the government should shut down. I think that’s what our country needs right now: a slap in the face to figure out what’s going on.” Daniel Hinson, senior industrial distribution major
ith the opening of the Healthcare Insurance Exchange, Tuesday marks the next major step in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” Laura Dague, assistant professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, said the exchange will provide citizens with an online marketplace of health care plans from private insurers that meet the new minimum federal requirements. Dague said uninsured people will be able to go on the marketplace website and both look for an insurance plan and see if they are eligible for a subsidy, and if so, how much it would be. To aid in this process, Dague said insurance companies participating in the marketplace are required to clarify their plan to customers by putting forward a sheet that clearly outlines what the plan offers. “The marketplace is where you can go if you do not currently have insurance and you want to look for a policy,” Dague said. “If you already have insurance through your parents or your job, you don’t need to make any changes. If you are uninsured, you are going to have to look at whether you want to go ahead and buy insurance or whether you want to pay the [penalties], which are relatively small next year but start to go up a little more over time.” Penalty payments will begin January 2014 and will start at $95 per adult or 1 percent of adjusted family income depending on which sum is greater. By January 2016, the penalties for being uninsured will be up to $2,085 per family or 2.5 percent of income depending on which is greater. The marketplace is one of four main initiatives that come with the Affordable Care Act, Dauge said. The other initiatives include a provision to See Care Act on page 3
“I’m not in favor of Obamacare, but I’m not in favor of government shutdown, necessarily. The government spends too much money and we need to get it under control, but I think we’re going about it in the wrong way.” Coleman Veale, sophomore construction science major
“I really just think that Congress needs to make a decision and compromise. It should not have dragged out this far.” Alya Ayers, sophomore civil engineering major Bryan Johnson — THE BATTALION
10/1/13 12:34 AM
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of 1965 and namesake for McFerrin Indoor Athletic Center and the Cox-McFerrin BasThe Battalion ketball Center. Widespread campus support ast spring, students suggested a nonprofit has been received from sources including Sysproject that would unite students from all tem Chancellor John Sharp, the Texas A&M over campus by providing them with a way Board of Regents and Student Body President to give back to the community. Reid Joseph. The project, BUILD, will be partnering Abbott said this year will provide the orwith Habitat for Humanity to create houses ganization with the opportunity to build a for those in need in Bryan-College Station good foundation. and will be holding a groundbreaking cer“It’s like starting a business,” Abbott said. emony on Saturday to kick off the project. “This year will allow future projects to have Students will spend the next seven weeks a foundation to start from.” building the walls of a house on Simpson Antoinette Gillian, sophomore biology Drill Field. The house will then be trans- major, said she believes the project has the ferred to a site in Bryan where students will potential to effectively bring students togethcontinue construction. er because Aggies are quick to show support. Andrew Abbott, BUILD command team “I think it’s a thoughtful project. And an leader and senior peaccurate reflection of troleum engineering what an Aggie may We all grew up hearing do to help someone major, said the idea for the project origiin need,” Gillian about the Aggie nated when student said. family and about the leaders gathered toBecause this is the spirit that brought gether and noticed project’s first year, campus had begun to everyone together, but we some students have feel disconnected. To didn’t notice those traits questions about the remedy this, former scope of BUILD as deputy Corps com- defining campus. We wanted a well as its long-term mander and Class of project that brought students effects. 2013 Bryson Sutter- from all corners of campus Mark Goloby, field came up with senior chemistogether to serve others.” the idea of BUILD. try major, said if “We all grew up — Andrew Abbott, BUILD command team leader BUILD wants to be and senior petroleum engineering major seen as a separate hearing about the Aggie family and organization about the spirit that brought everyone to- from Habitat for Humanity, they will gether, but we didn’t notice those traits de- have to actively try to involve more fining campus,” Abbott said. “We wanted a campus organizations. project that brought students from all corners “Personally, I think this is just a sub-catof campus together to serve others.” egory of Habitat for Humanity and just a The goal of BUILD is to involve every marketing campaign to get new houses built organization that is willing to participate, Ab- that centers around A&M culture,” Goloby bott said, and he hopes it will bring students said. “Not saying that’s wrong, it’s just what from all walks of life together. I feel.” “Our slogan is, ‘BUILD — A Tradition of Abbott said while BUILD and Habitat Unity,’” Abbott said. “We want BUILD to for Humanity have similar goals of providbe defined by bringing all students together ing service, BUILD is made up entirely of for a central purpose.” students who come together to give back to Abbot said he is excited for the project to the community. begin, especially with the massive amounts of The groundbreaking ceremony for BUILD support the program has received. will take place at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Donations have already been made in sup- job site in Bryan. port for the project from Artie McFerrin, Class
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thebattalion The IndependenT STudenT VoIce of TexaS a&M SInce 1893
Jake Walker, Editor in Chief The BaTTalion is published daily, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters and Tuesday and Thursday during the summer session (except University holidays and exam periods) at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843. Offices are in Suite L400 of the Memorial Student Center. News: The Battalion news department is managed by students at Texas A&M University in Student Media, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs. Newsroom phone: 979-845-3315; E-mail: email@example.com; website: http://www.thebatt.com. Advertising: Publication of advertising does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by The Battalion. For campus, local, and national display advertising, call 979-8452687. For classified advertising, call 979845-0569. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Email: battads@ thebatt.com. Subscriptions: A part of the Student Services Fee entitles each Texas A&M student to pick up a single copy of The Battalion. First copy free, additional copies $1.
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page 3 tuesday 10.1.2013
Care Act Continued from page 1
ensure health care plans cover certain preventative health measures such as contraception, mammograms and immunizations for children; provisions to enable people under the age of 26 to be on their parent’s insurance; and provisions to require that insurance companies do not deny health care because of pre-existing conditions. Rep. Bill Flores of District 17 said Republicans in Congress will continue to attempt to put an end to the Affordable Care Act as the American people are faced with what he said would be damaging local and national ramifications resulting from the act. “We are doing our best to repeal the act and to replace it with market-oriented health care reforms,” Flores said. “We’ve made 40-plus attempts to repeal it and delay it and take parts of it apart and again try to get ourselves in a position where we can replace it with something better.” Most recently, Republicans in the House of Representatives have attempted to thwart the Affordable Care Act by including a provision to delay it by one year with the current federal spending bill before sending it to the Senate for approval. On the other side of the spectrum is Beto O’Rourke, Democratic representative from Texas’ District 16. In a press release explaining his decision to vote against the Republican version of the spending bill because of the delay of the Affordable Care Act that would result, O’Rourke said Republicans are compromising the system with their actions.
Shutdown Continued from page 1
period should not be affected. We are engaging with government officials regarding the situation because of possible uncertainty presented in a long-term shutdown.” Students who work for the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be immediately affected by the shutdown. They must be on a furlough with other federal employees of the library who are not deemed immediately necessary. Jordan Meserole, director of communications for the Bryan-College Station Visitor’s Convention Bureau, said the Bush Library and Museum could be forced to close its doors due to being short staffed, potentially turning away a portion of the approximated 100,000 visitors it welcomes annually. The closing of the library could indirectly affect local businesses, Meserole said. “If people who are planning on visiting our area find out the Bush Library is closed, I could see them potentially changing their plans,” Meserole said. “If the visitors are not coming, then they are not eating in the restaurants, they are not staying in the hotel rooms, so in turn that’s also impacting our local economy.” In past government shutdowns, like the 21day long shutdown under President Clinton in 1995 and 1996, federal funding was frozen for anything deemed unnecessary. Passport pro-
“Using government solvency as leverage to achieve other political aims puts at risk our ability to meet our obligations and function as a country,” O’Rourke said. Dague said from a purely economic standpoint, the move by Republicans is irresponsible. “I think that is not a good idea to threaten the whole economy over one policy that has been legally passed and voted on multiple times,” Dague said. “And I think many economists share that opinion regardless of how they feel about the particular policy in question.” But Flores said his actions to replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that doesn’t drive up costs is in line with what he believes his constituents want. He said part of his understanding of what constituents want comes from small business employers in Bryan-College Station who have contacted him over the past couple of months and informed him of their prospective business changes. “In the past, they’ve always been happy to provide insurance and health care coverage to their employees,” Flores said. “And what they are telling me now is because of the high cost of health care coverage, they are thinking about doing a number of things.” Flores said the requirements of the Affordable Care Act have already resulted in an increase in premiums, which has forced businesses in Bryan-College Station and across the nation to make difficult sacrifices. Flores said employers were thinking of reducing their number of full-time employees to below 50 so the Affordable Care Act is not applicable to them, reducing the hours their employees work to below 30 hours a week as that constitutes full-time under Affordable Care
William Guerra— THE BATTALION
According to a government census, Texas has the most uninsured people within its borders, followed by Florida. On the other end, Massachusetts has the fewest uninsured people. Act and abandoning health insurance plans in favor of asking employees to go into health care exchanges. “It’s been a bad deal for employers and employees,” Flores said. “It looks like it’s going to get worse.” Of the businesses that Flores heard from, he recalled a dry cleaning and laundry business that would have liked to open up at a new location but held back because the expansion would put them at over 50 employees, a business move that would drive costs up under the Affordable Care Act. “Whereas three years ago they would have been inclined to make that expansion, now they’re holding back on that expansion,” Flores said. “That’s bad for them. That’s bad
for potential employees who are going to work there.” Flores said big businesses like UPS, Home Depot and Trader Joe’s have also informed him that they are reconsidering how they provide health care. With 12 Democrats and 26 Republicans representing Texas in Congress, Flores’ echoed the sentiments of the majority of Texas legislators when he said he believes the Affordable Care Act is a solution to a problem that entails having government bureaucrats stand between the patients and the doctors.
cessing was stopped, national museums and lor, said he thinks the government shutdown parks were closed, food stamps weren’t sent is detrimental and could have been avoided. out, soldiers fought but didn’t get paid and the He said the Republican Party is to blame for Food and Drug Administration was unable to the shutdown. monitor food or disease. “The American people want Obamacare The U.S. Postal Service, Congress’ and the as exhibited in their re-election of Obama,” president’s pay and social security checks will Taylor said. “The most damning part of the be unaffected. shutdown for the Republican party is the fact State-funded services will still run, which that Obamacare will still be implemented in limits the impact the shutdown, so the shutdown will As for the government this is all for naught. have on the Texas The Republican shutdown, I believe it A&M campus. Party is acting childis a great opportunity ish, bringing hurt not Chelsea Downy, lead office assistant only upon itself, but to show people just of the Study Abroad how much we can take care of the on the nation as a Office, said the ofwhole.” fice would still be ourselves.” Marc Pitts, senior processing passports — Cody Alejandro, junior psychology major biochemistry major because they create and member of Texas enough revenue in Aggie Conservatives, the state to support their own production and said he does not see what the major concerns distribution without federal funding. about the government shutdown are and notes Delisa Falks, executive director of scholar- that most people probably won’t even notice ships and financial aid, said the repercussions it. of the shutdown in the Texas A&M Student “I honestly don’t know why everyone is Financial Aid Office will be slight, and students making such a big deal over the government shouldn’t worry about getting the funding for shutdown,” Pitts said. “All essential personnel, their tuition. such as our military and law enforcement agenMany student organizations and individuals cies, will remain at work. We should think of it expressed differing opinions on the govern- like an extended weekend. In reality, the vast ment shutdown. majority of Americans won’t even notice.” Publicity coordinator for the Aggie DemoPolitical science professor Warren Dixon crats and junior philosophy major, Sam Tay- said the government should worry more about
other national issues. “We have had 17 government shutdowns within the last 30 years,” Dixon said. “I think Congress needs to focus more on the national debt issue coming up in mid-October.” Cody Alejandro, junior psychology major and public relations officer of Aggies for Liberty, said as a Libertarian, he was hoping for a government shutdown. “We don’t think the government should be too involved with our lives,” Alejandro said. “So, as for the government shutdown, I believe it is a great opportunity to show people just how much we can take care of ourselves. It’ll outline some of the nuisances that government involves themselves in.” In bunkering down for the worst, Congress passed a bill ensuring the military, employees of the Defense Department and employees of the Pentagon will still be paid in the event of a government shutdown. The shutdown will continue until the House and Senate reach an agreement on 2014 spending. House Republicans are pushing to pass a spending bill that includes amendments to delay implementing the Affordable Care Act for a year and will repeal the tax on medical device manufacturers. Senate Democrats want to pass a clean spending bill free of these amendments. Even with the government shutdown, the first part of the Affordable Care Act will go into effect Tuesday.
Bradley D’Sousa and Homero Segovia contributed to this story
10/1/13 12:20 AM
page 4 tuesday 10.1.2013
Graduate Student Council to address later class times
When & where
The Graduate Student Council will convene for its bimonthly meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Koldus 144.
he Graduate Student Council will hold its bimonthly meeting on Tuesday to discuss insurance, class times and Aggie Rings. Amanda Rutherford, GSC executive vice president and political science graduate student, said the upcoming meeting will discuss a proposal to push graduate classes held at 5 p.m. back to 5:30 p.m. The bill to change 5 p.m. class times was written by Kevin Andrews, agricultural leadership, education and communications graduate student. Andrews said he felt the bill needed to be written to start conversations among graduate students to see if changes in scheduling would make things easier for students. “We are using this bill just to gauge out how each others’ schedules work out,” Andrews said. “We want to see why grad students choose these classes and how we can try to accommodate to meet their needs. We are trying to get the conversation going about how this could possibly be better for graduate students with families or who work until 5 o’clock and don’t want to have to leave work early — who want to get that extra bit of work done.” Andrews said a 30-minute push back in class time would help graduate students with parking, as well as they would be paying evening rates in garages and spots closer to their classrooms would be available. Andrews said the idea for the bill came to him when he was talking to fellow graduate students who were upset that they had to leave work early to make it to class on time, and still had to park in West Campus Garage for classes on main campus. Andrews said he hopes the proposed bill will allow graduate students to discuss what possible improvements could be made to make their commute easier.
ALL STUDENTS: walk in or schedule your free yearbook portrait sitting now Just walk in to have your portrait made for Texas A&M University’s 2014 Aggieland yearbook. 10 a.m – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday in the Student Media office, Suite L400 of the MSC. Or, for appointment email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 979.846.9690. December grads: have your portraits made by Oct. 10 to have them for graduation announcements. It’s your yearbook. Be in it.
He said he is aware the desires of the class instructors and transportation services must also be taken into account for this bill and hopes the Graduate Student Council will find a compromise that will work best for everyone. “I think that each person has different needs, that’s why it’s going to be a great point to talk about at the meeting,” Andrews said. “Somehow, some point, someway, the classes we have were somehow set. Why were they set that way? Has anyone looked at it recently from the student perspective, though? That’s what we are trying to do. It won’t be an ultimatum, we will collaborate with instructors and transportation services but it will get them looking at it from the student perspective.” In addition to class time changes, guest speaker Kevin McGinnis, director of the Risk Management and Benefits Administration at Texas A&M, said he will discuss insurance changes that graduate students could face as a result of the Affordable Care Act. “[We will discuss] more coverage, decrease in premiums for graduate students, domestics and an increase for international [students],” McGinnis said. “Graduate students will have access to more coverage at less premium.” Brittany Bounds, GSC president and history graduate student, said the meeting might also include a celebratory toast for graduate students who recently received their Aggie Rings.
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