What You Need to Know about the Government Shutdown

Adam Steiner, Reporter

Recently, the country faced the longest government shutdown in history, so what does that mean and why did it happen?

A government shutdown occurs when Congress and the President fail to come to an agreement in passing a budget for the next fiscal year. If a budget is not agreed upon by the new fiscal year, the government begins to move into an “essentials only” running type.

The fiscal year begins on October 1 and runs through September 30 of the next year.

Congress, up until December 22, had passed a series of short budgets in order to keep the government open from the beginning of October, which the President signed and agreed to.

However, come December 22, Congress proposed an extension budget to President Donald Trump, which he then promptly shot down.

Trump stated that “I’ve made my position very clear: Any measure that funds the government must include border security.”

This is when the recent shutdown began. Since then, Democratic leadership and President Trump had been attempting to come to an agreement.

I’ve made my position very clear: Any measure that funds the government must include border security.”

— President Donald Trump

They met numerous times, however, little to nothing has become of it. Trump will not budge on the border wall, and the Democratic leadership does not want the wall. Trump made a few concessions on things that he does not support, such as a continuation on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protective Status (TPS).

Democrats have stated that they are not willing to move forward on border security until they have a clear and defined understanding. Additionally, Democrats did not see Trump’s concession regarding DACA and TPS as much of a concession, as they merely extend the current programs.

Ultimately, no agreements had been made.

As a result, a government shutdown has large implications, government workers are hit especially hard. Approximately 380,000 people were without a job for the duration of the shutdown, but the Trump administration called 50,000 of them back to work without pay.

420,000 people remained working during the shutdown as “critical workers”; however, they were also without pay.

As for the average citizen, the government shutdown has far reaching effects, many of which are behind the scenes.

For example, if the government shutdown were to have lasted until March, food stamps would have taken a huge hit because there simply would have been no funding for them.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was not doing food testing, meaning that the food that companies circulated to the public was no longer being checked for diseases or parasites.

Many National parks were only partially opened, and there were little to no park staff to assist park goers, or amenities such as bathrooms, road maintenance, trash removal, or camp sites.

The Internal Revenue Service remains opened as tax season moves in; however, their workers are without pay.

As of publication, the Trump Administration recently signed a continuing budget that will get the government to February 15; he also promised to get workers back pay very quickly.

A new and final budget must be finalized before this date, otherwise the government will shut down again.