The Shutdown: Breaking down the longest government shutdown in U.S. history

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The Shutdown: Breaking down the longest government shutdown in U.S. history

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Today marks the twenty-sixth day of the government shutdown. The partial government shutdown began on Saturday, Dec. 22, after representatives in Congress and the president were unable to come to a resolution over the funding of President Donald Trump’s southern border wall.

President Trump had promised his supporters while on the 2016 campaign trail that a wall would be constructed along our southern border, and that Mexico would be entirely responsible for the payment of said wall. However, despite the fact that Mexico has constantly refused to pay for the cost of construction for the wall, Trump and his administration remain resolute in the fact that a wall will be built and is now demanding 5.7 billion dollars from the national budget to fund it.

Democrats, who took over the House of Representatives back in the 2018 Midterm elections, are now clashing with the Senate, controlled by Republicans, and the President over the issue. There have been compromises made to provide increased funding for border security, however the president continues to reject offers and demands to receive the 5.7 billion dollars needed to fund for the wall.

“We told the president we needed the government open,” Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told reporters outside the White House. “He resisted. In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”

Mr. Trump later confirmed the remark. “I did say that; Absolutely I said that,” he said, “I don’t think it will, but I am prepared.”

President Trump has even gone as far as considering the issue over our southern border to be a national emergency in order to get the funding for the wall construction if the shutdown continues to persist.

Although, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, illegal border crossings have significantly declined over the past two decades, which goes against Trump’s main argument of needing the wall to prevent many from entering the U.S. illegally and bringing over illegal substances.

Meanwhile, many parts of the government are now operating at reduced rates due to being underfunded and understaffed. Many federal employees are now either working without pay or not showing up to work at all. Airports are now being held up, and it is now to harder to get through the lines at security checkpoints. Many of our National Parks are also now building up high amounts of trash and garbage, as well as sustaining damage to its natural resources.

The  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the many government agencies affected by the shutdown and is currently operating underfunded and understaffed. This agency is responsible for the public health of our citizens and manages and oversees the nation’s food supply and medical products.

The FDA is now halting food inspections due to the government shutdown and is now struggling to approve drugs for public use as they have lost funding. However, many inspectors have agreed to return to work and start food inspections back up again, even if inspections take longer due to being understaffed.

Many federal employees have already missed their first paycheck during this shutdown and are struggling to make ends meet. Many even consider seeking a second job to get money and food on the table.

“I’ve just been doing side jobs when they come along. I had two last week, and I don’t know what this week’s going to bring,” said Chris George, a forestry technician supervisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture forest service.

George Jankowski, a furloughed U.S. Department of Agriculture worker, said it’s embarrassing to ask for money to pay bills or ask to borrow money to eat.

This is the longest shutdown in our nation’s history, and it doesn’t look like it’s coming to an end anytime soon. We can only expect things to get worse as politicians struggle to compromise, many government services remain shutdown or underfunded, and many federal workers remain unpaid. People have already taken to the streets in protest of this government shutdown and demand for the government to reopen.

 

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