The Longest Government Shutdown Ever: What’s Going On?
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The Longest Government Shutdown Ever: What’s Going On?


January 26, 2019

As of the day I’m writing this, the government in the US has been shut down for a full month, making it the longest government shut down in American history. Many federal workers may be missing out on another paycheck. For the few of you who don’t know what’s going on, here’s a recap: 

How It Started: 


(AP Photo, Evan Vucci) Image via the Washington Post

Essentially, Trump and the Democrats weren’t able to come to an agreement on the allocation of funds for Trump’s proposed wall at the southern border between the US and Mexico. On December 11th, him, the House Minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, held a televised meeting at the Oval Office which turned into a heated debate. Trump admitted that he wanted the funds for the wall, and if they weren’t granted, he would shut the government down, saying “I am proud to shut down the government for border security”. The Democrats proposed compromises but the president said he wanted the $5.7bn added to the federal legislature or a government shutdown. And so, the government partially shut down on December 21st, affecting over 800,000 workers. 

How is this affecting federal workers? 

Since the start of the shutdown on the 21st of December, 800,000 federal workers have either been granted leave or been told to come into work regardless of the fact that they wouldn’t be getting paid. The Federal Aviation Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission have all been closed because of funding running out on December 22.

A few other departments are still running despite the low funding, meaning that federal workers are struggling to make ends’ meet, especially now, after 32 days of the shutdown, as they would be missing their second paycheck. Furthermore, many national parks are being overcrowded with trash as there is no one to clean it up, lines at airports are extremely long due to less TSA agents, there’s a very low number of firefighters and police officers, and food is no longer being regulated as frequently.  

So, What’s Next? 

When looking at current negotiations and at what the president is saying, it seems as if the government shutdown won’t end anytime soon. The US economy and federal bureaucracy will suffer for years to come. The pause in government loans is said to affect the agricultural industry, the oil industry, and the real estate sector. The Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson under the Obama Administration has said that the “fallout [of the shutdown] is going to last for months, if not years”. 

Currently, there are proposals being written to try and reopen the government, but nothing is concrete. Last weekend, Trump proposed temporary protections from deportations for some immigrants in exchange for funding for the border wall, something that was almost immediately rejected by the Democrats. Democrats proposed that the President first reopen the government before talking about negotiations. Currently, it seems as if no one is really sure what is going to happen in the next few days, or when the government will reopen. 

EDIT: On Friday, January 25, the President finally agreed to back down and signed a continuing resolution that will temporarily reopen the government. Government officials have roughly three weeks to negotiate a solution as Trump still wants the funding. However, it will be tough more most government funded operations to reopen, and federal workers will unfortunately have lots of work to do. Experts also think that there may be more shutdowns in the future. 

Valeria Keuser
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Writer since Jan, 2019 · 10 published articles

Valeria is currently studying Political Science at Leiden University in the Netherlands