What caused the government shutdown?

Orange County Register

Orange County Register

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For those that don’t know, the government shut down on midnight on December 21st, 2018. The shutdown is currently stretching into it’s third week and is the second longest government shutdown in history. This isn’t the first time this has occurred. The first shutdown occurred under the Clinton administration back in November 13th, 1995. The first shutdown lasted a full five days, ending on November 19th, 1995. There have been a total of 21 government shutdowns, and the most current one is still ongoing.

So what does it mean when the government “shuts-down”? A shutdown happens when non-essential discretionary federal programs close. The president must do this if congress fails to appropriate funds. Usually congress appropriates funds by September 30th for the next fiscal year. If this fails to happen, then the government is forced in to a “shutdown” because they can’t come up with a spending budget on certain things.

This current shutdown is due to Trump wanting congress to fund $5 billion to build the infamous wall. The democrats disagree on building the wall and tries to negotiate with trump. They offer $1.3 billion to continue current border-security funding. It would help improve technology, levee walls and border fencing. Trump refuses the offer and says he won’t sign a bill the $5.7 billion to fund the wall.

The current shutdown began at midnight on December 21, 2018. As a result, about 400,000 non-critical employees of nine agencies were sent home without pay. In past shutdowns, Congress has reimbursed federal employees for lost wages.

Here is a breakdown of how many workers in each department were furloughed:

  1. Homeland Security – 13 percent of 232,860 workers.
  2. Justice – 17 percent of 114,154 workers.
  3. Agriculture – 40 percent of 95,383 workers. February food stamps could be cut.
  4. Treasury – 83 percent of 87,267 workers. Tax refunds could be delayed.
  5. Interior – 78 percent of 68,469 workers. National Park maintenance has decreased.
  6. Transportation – 34 percent of 54,230 workers. Some security screeners have called in sick.
  7. Commerce – 87 percent of 47,896 workers.
  8. Environmental Protection Agency – 95 percent of 13,872 workers. It can use reserve funds to stay open through December 28.
  9. Housing and Urban Development – 95 percent of 7,497 workers.

Whenever the government shuts down, it furloughs hundreds of thousands of workers. It costs a lot more to shut down the government than it is to not. It leaves many people in tough situations. The furloughed workers won’t know when their next paycheck will come in. For the families that live check-to-check, it makes a huge impact on their living. Almost every american has a mortgage and kids to pay for. Some have had to decide whether to spend $50 on gas for the car to get to work without confirmation of pay or to spend it on food to put on the table.




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