One of the hottest topics in media and politics this week is the strong possibility of the government shutting down. Recently, congress has been focusing on the discussion of two things: immigration and federal spending.
The conversation about immigration has been around ever since Trump moved to disband the DACA program. He proposed that the Congress needs to come up with a plan to fix it and if they can’t, then the program would go away. (Click here for more details on DACA) Democrats and Republicans are debating on immigration vs. federal spending because democrats refuse to make a decision on a budget until an immigration policy is created. Because Congress has taken so long to resolve this issue, they neglected Federal Spending. Congress is responsible for creating a national budget that provides all government agencies with what they need, but simultaneously alleviates national debt. When creating this budget, Congress’s goals include trying to “drive down federal spending, including by fixing entitlement programs, toward a balanced budget; maintain our ability to protect America; and do so without raising taxes” (Heritage Foundation 2). This is a very difficult tasks which means in requires a lot of time. However, not nearly enough time was devoted to this, due to focusing on DACA. This Friday (1/19) is the deadline for when the federal spending is supposed to be set. There has yet to be a final decision which means that the government has to go into a temporary shut down, meaning “non-essential” government activities would cease. In an attempt, to prevent this, the House of Representatives sent a bill to the Senate to keep the government funded until mid-February. This is an issue in itself because the Senate would need to get 60 votes to pass it before the end of Friday.
If neither the House nor the Senate can come to a decision then the government will get shutdown. This means that for many Government employees will get furloughed with retroactive pay. An employee that is furloughed may be called into work if needed to accomplish tasks that are deemed essential. Being paid retroactively means that once the furlough is over, the employee will be paid for time lost. Members of the military are considered essential and will have to work without pay. Departments and places that will be closed due to the shutdown include: National Parks, Zoos, Museums, the Bureau of Alcohol, Bureau of Tobacco, and the Bureau of Firearms. Departments and places that will remain open throughout the shutdown include: Social Security, Air Traffic Control, TSA, and the US Postal Service.
The government shutdown will continue to last until Congress comes up with a decision on the federal budget. They could also pass a CR, a continuing resolution that will buy more time to negotiate an actual federal plan. Many politicians say that if the government is just shut down over the weekend then it will not be that big of a deal. However, it appears like the government will be shut down for a long period of time, which means things will get backed up and this entire situation will be much worst. The longer the shut down goes on, the more difficult it will be for workers to get their retroactive payment. “More than 25,000 federal employees are still awaiting financial compensation for damages sustained during the 2013 shutdown” (Stewart 13). Many people are even going as far as saying that President Trump is responsible for this issue, due to his lack of leadership skills and ability to make decisions.
The last time a government shutdown happened, I was not old enough to really know what was going on or care. However, now I am shocked that are government would let a shut down happen for the eighteenth time since Congress was first responsible for creating a nation budget in 1976. I am a little more affected by the government shut down because my dad is in the military and he is among the employees that have to go to work but do not get paid. I know that this will put a strain on my family, financially, so I am hoping that this shut down is over as soon as possible. Also, although most of the workers in the government are not getting paid, the Congress members still get a pay check throughout the shutdown. This is because it is written into law that they will always get paid. I think this is not fair because they are sitting pretty well on their wad of cash while other people have to suffer through what could be a major economic downfall. Congress members are the ones who are responsible for the shut down, so why do they still get paid. This is most likely a reason why they were not in a rush to get a federal budget organized. The is heavily covering this story and the progression of the government shutdown so I am sure there will be plenty more to learn about.