What You Need to Know About the US Government Shutdown

January 25, 2019

The ongoing government shutdown in the U.S. is now the longest in the country’s history, and there’s no end in sight. At midnight on December 21st, the government shutdown officially began after President Donald Trump and Congress failed to pass all 12 appropriation bills. The appropriation bills determine the budget for each section of the government. However, as the bills were not passed, this resulted in the government shutting down. Federal employees in the affected section deemed non-essential are placed on unpaid leave while essential employees continue to work without pay. Trump did, however, pass a bill on January 15th stating that all employees (essential and non-essential) will receive back pay.

 

According to The Guardian, the biggest obstacle standing in the way of the end of the shutdown is Trump’s continuous demand for 5.7 billion dollars of taxpayer money for funding to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. He is standing firm on this demand after stating he will proudly take responsibility for the shutdown as well as claiming the shutdown might last for “months or even years.”

 

A poll from Quinnipiac University stated that the majority of American voters think something needs to be done about border security; however, 56% of American voters oppose building the wall and 62% oppose shutting down the government because of funding for the wall.

As pointed out by English teacher Marypat Weber, ”Regardless of where a person may find himself or herself on the political spectrum, a shutdown of government is disruptive. As opposed to being a prelude to dialogue, a shutdown of government is a combative stance which often leads to increased tension and less opportunity for democracy to function as it was intended.”

 

As stated by news source Aljazeera, the shutdown has now affected 800,000 federal workers who are beginning to take a stand. Federal employees are increasingly calling in sick and a national sick day is being planned to protest the shutdown. Citizens are also feeling the impact of the shutdown. 

I spoke with one tribal leader who said that they actually lost a tribal member because they were unable to plow the roads so that an emergency service vehicle could get to him in time.

The national food assistance program, which according to USA Today helps 40 million Americans, is currently dipping into their emergency accounts and will run out of money by the end of the month. Many people believe Trump is using the shutdown as leverage to get funding for what many are referring to as ‘Trump’s wall.’

 

Hana Kovar (11) said “I believe it is crucial that Trump (and his supporters) realise that, by shutting down the government for the longest period of time since 1995, he is blackmailing the people into paying for an insecure and unconventional method of border security, which he previously claimed Mexico would pay for, NOT the American people. I, and many others, agree that strong border security is crucial, however the actions Trump and many Republicans have taken (separating families, deporting innocent people, making racist and hateful remarks) are an unprofessional and improper way of dealing with the situation. Not only do I not agree with the shutdown and the reason behind it from a political stance, but as a child of two US government employees, my personal life is also affected as both of my parents are currently subjected to work without pay, as well as facing financial uncertainty.”

 

Mr. Oren Rubin (Annual Substitute) also added, “Such political action may not only increases tension but perhaps raises a concern upon further complication to come, economically and politically, and, of course, socially.  A bigger question, in my eyes, is who would pay the “real” bill – what does national security protects and secures beyond just … a physical wall?”

 

What do you think of the current government shutdown? Leave your reply in the comments below.

 

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