As of Monday, January 21st, the U.S. government has been shut down for 30 days, making it the longest in United States history. In the past 6 years, the government has had three significant shutdowns—2013, 2018, and 2019; the latest one occurring due to a lack of funding for border patrol and, the most popular topic associated with President Trump, the Wall.
Essentially, a government shutdown is when discretionary government offices cannot stay up and running because there is no funding left from the previous year. According to investopedia.com, a government shutdown occurs when the federal budget has not been approved by Congress and the process to approve it is prolonged.
Contrary to what the word “shutdown” implies, most government offices are still up and running. The shutdown only includes the non-mandatory spending section of the government. Most national parks and museums remain open with limited access to facilities such as public restrooms.
As reported by CNBC, the main agencies that are being hurt by the shutdown are the USDA, Federal Communications Commission, Small Business Administration, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Some results of these agencies furloughing employees include a lack of data concerning food and crops. The government is no longer providing loans to small business operators. The Sprint-T-Mobile company merger will be prolonged even further, as the Federal Communications Commission is no longer reviewing transactions of this sort. BBC News reports that 800,000 government employees have been required to work or stay home without pay.
Thankfully, this shutdown has not been as detrimental as ones have been in the past. Because of previous government shutdowns, there are backup procedures in place so that hundreds of thousands of people do not suddenly lose their steady income flow. However, there are effects such as lagged pay, furlough, and delayed processing of general government applications submitted by citizens.
President Trump, per the request of border security agents, is demanding 5.7 billion dollars in funding to help build a border wall. Nancy Pelosi and others in Washington feel that border funding should be focused more towards improving the conditions of undocumented citizens being detained by ICE. Because the Republicans and Democrats could not reach an agreement on the new year’s budget by the time it needed to be put into effect, the government was forced to shut down.
According to Fox News, on January 19th “Trump announced that he was prepared to back a three-year extension of protections for 700,000 immigrants who came to the country illegally as children and were shielded from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This, in exchange for the $5.7 billion he has requested for a barrier on the southern border with Mexico.” It looks as if this compromise will bring America’s longest government shutdown to a close.