Government shutdown makes history

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Government shutdown makes history

Megan A. 20, Writer

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Government shutdowns occur when the current president and one or both chambers of Congress are uncooperative on funding and spending bills. Government shutdowns are a fairly new event in American politics. The first government shutdown was in 1976 under President Gerald Ford.

The idea was introduced in 1974 by the Congressional Budget Act. This bill created standing budget committees in the House and the Senate, establishing the Congressional Budget Office. Previously, the longest government shutdown occurred from 1995 to 1996 which lasted for 21 days under former President Bill Clinton’s administration. However, the latest government shutdown has extended past Clinton’s and has resulted in the longest shutdown in American history at 35 days.

“To be honest with you, I’m politically neutral. However, in my opinion, if you have to shut something off and on like a bad WiFi router to see if it works, then maybe you should try a different approach. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Nathan S. ’20 said.

Since December, the government has been partially shut down because President Donald Trump continued to demand $5 billion to build a wall on the United States-Mexican border. However, Congress refused to allow funding for this wall mostly because the House has a majority of Democrats who will not support Trump’s idea. Trump said he will not declare a national emergency even though the White House has started to lay down the groundwork for one, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

“The fact is: President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety, and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation, many of them veterans,” Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi said after President Trump’s address to the nation on Jan. 8.

Pelosi defeated the Republican nominee Kevin McCarthy and became Speaker of the House on Jan. 3 by a total of 220 votes. McCarthy became the House minority leader, and Pelosi’s election was a major victory for the Democratic party.

“He promised to keep government shutdown for months or years, no matter whom it hurts, is just plain wrong,” Pelosi said in her response.

Nealy 800,000 federal workers went without pay since the beginning of the government shutdown. The majority of employees called in sick or do not show up to work because they are not getting paid. The government is still supporting the food stamp program which benefits nearly 38 million Americans, but this program is predicted to run out of funding at the end of January.

“I feel bad for them [the families]. They are not getting any money or anything and families have to suffer for no reason,” Simiran A. ‘20 said.

The number of employees not showing up to work or calling off has doubled, especially in prisons. On Jan. 15 the United States Coast Guard missed their paychecks, and on Jan. 18 the federal courts’ resources depleted. On Jan. 25, federal employees missed another paycheck for the second time in a row. The tax season began on Jan. 28, but this will not be the only issue America will be facing. On April 8, the government funding will expire at midnight, according to The Washington Post. However, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps.

Certain national and public parks were completely closed but a few visitor services may be available to the public by concessioners according to The U.S National Park Service.

“People must understand the harmful effects the government shutdown is having on our National Parks, “ Stephanie G. ‘21 said.

President Trump agreed on  Jan. 25 to reopen the government for three weeks until Feb. 15. The reopening of the government will restore normal operations and pay 800,000 federal workers who worked without pay during the government shutdown according to The New York Times.

The government shutdown lasted 35 days and in a poll by CNBC, 63 percent of Americans think the country is “on the wrong track.” However, 28 percent believe the country is headed in the “right direction.” Before the government shutdown, 56 percent of Americans thought the country was in the wrong direction and 33 percent thought the country is on the right path.

During the shutdown, the U.S. economy lost $11 billion dollars but $8 billion dollars are expected to be made up this year according to the Congressional Budget Office. However, if a deal between Trump and Congress isn’t agreed on about border security by Feb. 15, the government could shut down again according to Politico.

“I do not know honestly [if the government will shut down again], I think they are reaching a polarization of compromise. Because in order to keep the government open, they need to put their political interest aside for the country’s interest because instead, it is making the country worse,” OHS social studies teacher Erica Sachs said.