The United States government has been partially shut down for 31 days due to disagreements over the funding of President Donald Trump’s border wall. This marks the longest government shutdown in American history, having surpassed the 21-day shutdown in 1995 to 1996 during the Clinton Administration.
The shutdown, which has been going on since Dec. 22, 2018, was started by disagreements between President Trump and the Legislative Branch. Trump’s goal is to fulfill the promise made during his presidential campaign by building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration. He asked for $5 billion from the government to fund the construction of the barrier.
However, the Democrats of Congress, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, denied his request. According to the Office of Management and Budget, $5 billion is not enough money to fund a wall that covers the entire 2,000-mile southern border. The lack of a compromise led to the government shutting down.
Mt. Hebron junior Andrea Sicoli shared her views on the shutdown. “I’m hoping the Democrats hold their ground, but I think realistically, President Trump will get the money he wants,” she said.
Trump stated that he is willing to let the shutdown continue for “months or even years,” as he is not backing down or giving in to Congress’s demands to end the shutdown.
Schumer replied to his demands, stating that “the Democrat Party will not let a temper tantrum, threats, push us in the direction of doing something even our Republican colleagues know is wrong.”
Pelosi said, “President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage. They must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government.”
The shutdown means that 800,000 Americans relying on week-to-week paychecks from the government will not be paid despite the fact that numerous of them still be working. Countless people could lose their homes. They could also lose benefits provided by the insurance they receive from their job. In addition, surgeries and life-saving medical treatments have all been put on hold, and various government jobs that are important to the progression of society are not being completed.
Many Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have been calling out of work sick, prompting long lines at airport security. If TSA officers refuse to report to work, either screenings may cease or American airports may have to shut down completely.
Employee unions are rallying to end the shutdown across the country. States involved include Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Florida, Utah, Colorado, New York, California, North Carolina, Illinois and Texas. The employees plan to rally until the shutdown ends, according to the District Office Manager of the American Federal Government Employee Matt Muchowski.
The food stamps program, along with other need-based programs, could lose funding if the government continues to be shut down, meaning millions of low-income Americans could lose food assistance. Thousands of federal employees are losing more than $1.4 billion each week without their weekly salaries, meaning that many are facing the risk of financial hardships if they are facing upcoming mortgage payments.
Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano has announced, via email and through the HCPSS website, that the school system is offering their services of meal assistance and counseling programs to students in Howard County who are suffering from the shutdown.
“No child should go hungry,” explained Dr. Martirano, “and no parent should fear their child will not eat because they cannot afford to pay meals during this government shutdown period.”
Mt. Hebron senior Jackson Hendricks said, “Something needs to be done soon. If people are losing money over this, some agreement has to be made.”
In the end, some compromise must be made between President Trump and the Democrat Party in order to end the shutdown. The government will remain closed until this happens.