January 25th marks the 35th day the federal government has been “shut down.” The reasons behind the shutdown and why it happened in the first place –The SAGA to MAGA.
This is the longest government shutdown in history, aside from the 1995 shutdown of 21 days. The effects of a government shutdown are immediate, but as more and more time passes, the effects are more and more noticeable to all Americans, not just federal employees missing their paychecks.
As if putting any working American in a position of involuntary servitude is not bad enough (800,000 being effected) a slew of government agencies and programs have had to scale back employees or close up shop due to the shutdown.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped most of its operations, affecting all forms of broadcasting. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently running on a skeleton crew. This affects the stock market, which is a major part of our economy. Investigations into securities violations are being impeded due to short staffing, leaving the door open for predatory practices.
The Environmental Protection Agency, who is tasked with governing the air we breath, is only open to address major health threats and disasters. The Department of Agriculture has had to close agencies across the country tasked with helping America’s farmers at the county level. America’s farmers are already feeling squeezed due to Chinese tariffs. There are many other government agencies that have had to scale back workers or close due to the shutdown. Also, many museums and federally funded art galleries have had to close-including the Smithsonian.
Airports around the country have had to limit service due to TSA workers opting out of working for free. If the shutdown continues, Federal Courts may lose funding and will have to postpone adjudication of part of their caseload. Immigration hearings have been cancelled in mass since the shutdown began-upwards of 42,000.
A government without funding, cannot continue to function. 38 million people are looking at losing food stamps if the shutdown continues into February. Many rental assistance programs expire in February-over 2 million low-income families will cease to get rental assistance for March and beyond. WIC, a federally funded food assistance program, is only funded through January-affecting as many as 7 million low-income pregnant women if the shutdown continues.
Until the federal government agrees on a budget, the situation will continue to worsen. Shutdowns often cost the government heavily-not just in closing agencies and services. The 16 day shutdown of 2013 cost the federal government over $2 billion in lowered gross domestic product (GDP) and less productivity. Not to mention, lowered confidence by Americans in the federal government is often a direct result of shutdowns- less spending and investments.
The shutdown would have to continue to September to have more severe effects, as many government agencies are funded until then, but let’s hope Congress can agree before it gets even close to that benchmark.
Coming through on an outrageous campaign promise seems way more important to MAGA followers than millions’ ability to eat and have a place to sleep. President Trump has promised to make sure we all get our tax refunds even without a funded government- so there’s that. Too bad the IRS isn’t going to be staffed well enough to be able to field consumer questions or issues.
Photo Evan Vucci/ AP posted from The Atlantic
Recently, Congress submitted their Continuing Resolution Bill- essential for funding various departments of the Federal Government. President Trump refused to sign the bill until Congress includes funding for his Border Wall. This refusal has resulted in a partial government shutdown.
The government shutdown will have immediate consequences for many government employees. American workers whom our tax dollars fund for services “non-essential” may not be receiving their paychecks. The shutdown won’t stop there. There is a potential for far more reaching consequences for failing to pass the Continuing Resolution Bill, including hampering domestic and foreign economic relations, lack of funding for many federally funded programs, among other issues.
Historically, most Presidential administrations have experienced partial government shutdowns, including in January 2018. The government also shut down in 2013 when the Senate attempted to utilize the bill as leverage to delay President Obamaʼs Affordable Care Act. The last ditch-effort came after several failed congressional attempts to appeal the legislation.
What is the government arguing about now? Well not really much since Congress is in recess until after the holidays, but mostly the ever-evolving Immigration & Border Security debate. In the last 20 years, people seeking Asylum from Mexican and Central American Countries has grown exponentially, due to instability and rampant corruption in their home countries. Immigrants flood our borders seeking Asylum.
It’s proven to be a daunting process in which Asylum seekers must apply for a hearing to go before an immigration judge who will determine if they qualify under U.S. Policy. The backlog of applications is endless and with few judges, Asylum seekers are housed in detention facilities while they wait their day in court. American tax dollars must fund these detention facilities. These facilities are over-run, understaffed, and overcrowded. In the past few weeks, U.S. border patrol has faced increased public criticism for the deaths of two children in their custody in one of these such facilities.
While President Trump is certainly not the first President to refuse
to sign a funding bill, he’s dug himself into a hole by holding out until Congress approves appropriation money for his Border Wall.
How is this any different than the previous shutdown under Obama in 2013? The major difference is that Congress voted to pass legislation for President Obamaʼs affordable healthcare act. Our current Congress, currently in Republican majority, has never been able to pass legislation to fund a border wall.
Though promises to follow-through on campaign promises are reasonable expectations for supporters, not all are realistic enough to get majority Congressional support. Several Republicans refuse to publicly endorse the Presidents refusal to sign the bill due to lack of border wall funding. Many are holding out to see how Trumpʼs strategy plays out before making any official public statements of their endorsement.
President Trump knows if he hasn’t been able to find a way to fund the Wall through the congressional majority he currently has, it certainly won’t pass with a freshly elected Democratic lead House. This is quite a gamble for the president and his bid for re-election in 2020. The party that shuts the government down, historically has been penalized by bad publicity- ultimately influencing Congressional incumbents’ elections, especially in swing states and swing districts.
The president has to show he’s dug his heels in for his supporters. However, it is uncertain whether or not his strategy will work. Government shut-downs have had little to no long standing success in the past. The coming days will be telling of his willingness to compromise. In the meantime, thousands of government workers will continue their jobs without certainty of when they will be compensated.
The SAGA to MAGA continues…