In case you didn’t know, the United States government, per President Donald Trump’s order, has been partially shut down since mid-December, making it the longest shutdown in U.S. history. However, “longest government shutdown” is not a “Guinness Book of World Records” title that we want to be taking. Here’s how it started and why we need it to end.
After a request for over five billion dollars to fund the border wall between Mexico and the United States, which Trump claims is necessary to crack down on illegal immigration, was denied by Democrats, negotiations were at a stalemate. The federal budget was not finished and signed off on before Dec. 21, when the old spending legislation expired, so the government shut down the next day.
Almost a month later, Trump is still not backing down; he has even threatened to declare a national emergency in order to get the wall built.
The shutdown has caused a number of problems for Americans living on welfare, federal employees and the U.S. economy alike. Some national parks, like the Rocky Mountain National Park, and public museums, like the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C., are also closed as a result of limited funding. One can also expect to see lengthy lines and hours long waits at airports.
Upwards of 800,000 federal employees are not receiving their paychecks. Instead, some have been placed on temporary leave while others are required to work without pay. Inevitably, protests began to urge the government to give the people the means by which to pay their rent and other bills, or else eviction is a blatant possibility.
Some government agencies are operating on money that had previously been distributed, but no more federal funding will be provided until after the shut down.
Pretty soon, more than just federal workers will be negatively impacted by the shutdown. The more than 40 million Americans who live off of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are not guaranteed welfare should the shutdown continue past February.
The U.S. economy is also taking a hit, with an estimated subtraction of “about [0.13] percentage point from growth every two weeks,” according to Fox Business.
Now, because of concerns over lack of funding for the Secret Service and Dept. of Homeland Security, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that the State of the Union address, currently scheduled for Jan. 29, be postponed until the government re-opens. Another alternative Pelosi proposed was that Trump could, rather than giving his speech live, just write the speech to be dispersed to the public.
Despite all of this, there is some good news. Many banks are offering furloughed federal employees special loan rates to get them through the shut down. Here in Middle TN, Wilson Bank and Trust says, “If you’re a worker who’s being impacted by the government shut down, please stop in and see a lender… and let’s see how we can help.”
Hopefully, the shutdown will be over before too long, and America can recover before more permanent damage is done.