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What to Know About the Government Shutdown

The+government+shutdown+has+occurred+after+the+President+and+Congress+have+not+been+able+to+agree+on+a+budget+for+the+distribution+of+federal+funds.+Even+certain+federal+websites+have+not+been+updated+since+the+shutdown.+%E2%80%9CIt+shows+to+me+that+one+of+our+basic+principles+of+democracy%2C+compromise%2C+is+lacking%2C%E2%80%9D+said+Decaro.
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What to Know About the Government Shutdown

The government shutdown has occurred after the President and Congress have not been able to agree on a budget for the distribution of federal funds. Even certain federal websites have not been updated since the shutdown. “It shows to me that one of our basic principles of democracy, compromise, is lacking,” said Decaro.

The government shutdown has occurred after the President and Congress have not been able to agree on a budget for the distribution of federal funds. Even certain federal websites have not been updated since the shutdown. “It shows to me that one of our basic principles of democracy, compromise, is lacking,” said Decaro.

Ijeoma Nkenchor

The government shutdown has occurred after the President and Congress have not been able to agree on a budget for the distribution of federal funds. Even certain federal websites have not been updated since the shutdown. “It shows to me that one of our basic principles of democracy, compromise, is lacking,” said Decaro.

Ijeoma Nkenchor

Ijeoma Nkenchor

The government shutdown has occurred after the President and Congress have not been able to agree on a budget for the distribution of federal funds. Even certain federal websites have not been updated since the shutdown. “It shows to me that one of our basic principles of democracy, compromise, is lacking,” said Decaro.

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“They worked hard; they got a good career for themself and all of a sudden they’re not getting paid. Most of the people getting affected by this aren’t in politics. They’re people who have a job totally removed from Washington and they’re the ones bearing the brunt of all of this,” said social studies teacher Jeff Kinney.  

On Dec. 22, 2018, a government shutdown began that is still going on today over the federal budget. It is now the longest government shutdown in American history, lasting, so far, 28 days.

Government shutdowns occur when the U.S. Congress fails to pass a resolution to fund federal government services. In this instance, the government shutdown occurred due to President Trump’s refusal to sign the proposed bill since it lacked specific funding for specific ideas involving border security and a border wall that would cost around $5.7 billion dollars. During this time, the government is still active; however, no money is being distributed to pay for federal services and government workers.

“They’re not trying to shutdown the government…We don’t have a means of paying for it right now because the Congress has to pass a budget and direct money to all these places and they can’t agree,” said Kinney.

Federal programs such as the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Bureau of Prisons, Violence Against Women Act, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and many more do not have funds and are forced to either stop completely, furlough some of their workers, or have employees work unpaid.

Public schools will mostly be unaffected as they are run by state governments. However, the funds to pay for free or reduced lunch comes from the federal food service funds. Fortunately, here is enough saved up to last schools for the next two months.

Even though hundreds of thousands of federal workers must continue to work unpaid, many have started using their sick days and vacation time so they don’t have to work unpaid, but federal agencies like the TSA and the IRS is now ordering their employees to return to work, unpaid.

Despite the lack of distribution of funds, the President and Congress members still get a paycheck.

“The fact that the very people in charge of whether or not the government is operating still gets paid…they certainly don’t have anything to lose. Meanwhile, families who live paycheck to paycheck suffer,” said social studies teacher Julie DeCaro.

Although, over 70 of the 435 members of Congress have refused pay until the government is reopened.

“I do think it’s noble of them, but I wonder if that money could go to a good cause,” said senior David Blanchard.

Over 800,000 federal workers have not received pay, leaving them scrambling to pay for mortgage, medical bills, food, and other necessities.  

“My sister works for the police department and her husband is the director of IT for the local court system. He, the primary breadwinner, isn’t getting paid. He still has to show up to work every day, hoping he will receive back pay. They have a baby, a mortgage, and student loan bills just like most other adults. My sister told me they can’t come visit me because they can’t afford to at the moment. It is so upsetting,” said Decaro.

This is also the first time in history that the active members of the U.S. Coast Guard will go without pay as they are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security, the budget for which has not been approved. The other parts of the military, such as the Navy or the Marines, will go unaffected as they are under the Department of Defense, and the budget for that has already been approved.

Fortunately, a bill has been passed that will give ‘back pay’ to all the unpaid federal workers. The measure will guarantee that federal workers who had to work unpaid will receive a paycheck when the shutdown ends. Unfortunately, until then, they have to struggle to find a way to pay for things currently. Many have been using credit cards, but eventually, the interest will be too much.

Yet, the shutdown goes farther than unpaid workers, the environment is suffering from the government shutdown, with National Parks becoming landfills, being vandalized, and being defecated on, as there is no money to keep it maintained and no money to pay the workers to keep it so.

“The National Parks now are at a skeletal crew, which means there’s only six to 12 people to cover thousands of acres of Parks. That means there aren’t rangers around warning people of dangers, that means the restrooms aren’t being cleaned, that means there is no one there to prevent the animals from being teased. It’s dangerous for people and it’s also harmful to the planet because it’s not being kept clean,” said science teacher Dr. Karen LaFever.

At the moment, there is not an end in sight as President Trump said the government will not open until he has funding for the wall and the President and Congress has showed little progress in making a compromise for new budget.

About the Contributors
Cassie Schoene, Multi-media Guru

Hi, this is Cassie Schoene! I am almost always busy whether it is school, work, friends, clubs, or theatre. I’m a junior and this my 2nd year on the...

Ijeoma Nkenchor, Editor-in-Chief

Hey, my name’s Ijeoma and I’m this years Editor-in-Chief. One of the biggest reasons I joined newspaper was because I wanted to take my writing skills...

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