Government Shutdown

Marie Hayes, Co-Managing Editor

On December 21, the government shut down. The shutdown lasted 34 days, making it the longest in history, beating a shutdown during Clinton’s term that lasted 21 days according to The New York Times. The government was reopened on Friday, January 25.

Congress periodically comes together to set a new federal budget. When the Congress can not come to a consensus the government shuts down, meaning parts of the government go unfunded. Government shutdowns are relatively common; there have been 21 shutdowns over the past 40 years according to Vox News.  

Because the Senate could not pass a budget bill that would fund parts of the government by the deadline, the government partially shut down.

Three fifths, or 9 out of 15, of the government departments shutdown. Some of these departments included Homeland Security and Transportation. According to Vox, 800,000 people work under the 9 departments that did not receive funding.  

Because the nine departments were not receiving funding, all 800,000 federal workers worked without pay or were put on unpaid leave.  The workers are now being compensated. According to Vox, The American Federation of Government Employees filed a class-action lawsuit against the Trump Administration, in hopes to bring some justice to the federal workers.

The government shut down because of the political parties’ difference in funding border security and immigration. The Republican party is pushing for funding to build the border wall. President Trump had asked Congressional Republicans to allocate 5.7 billion dollars to the National Security budget to build a border wall, in attempts to increase border security. The Border Wall was one of Trump’s most famous claims and was largely supported by his constituents.

The democratic majority within the House had passed multiple bills. However, the bills never addressed the wall, let alone fund it. So Mitch McConnell, the Majority Whip, stopped the bills from being voted on in the Senate, a common political strategy that bars opposing parties from passing legislation.

Nearly a month late, after long deliberation, Congress came to a consensus and passed a bill, this past Friday, that funded the 9 departments for 3 weeks. The bill did not contain any funding for the wall. However, Trump is still optimistic about funding for the wall, stating he will declare a state of emergency if there is no funding for the wall, according to Washington Post.