Political Issue of the Issue: The government shutdown causes much controversy

Claire Moylan, Features Editor

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The government shutdown began December 22, 2018 over funding for the wall along the Mexican-American border. President Trump has advocated for building a wall to help slow the number of illegal crossings from Mexico into the United States and asked for $5.7 billion to do so. However, meetings between the Democratic leadership within the House of Representatives and President Trump failed because both parties were having difficulties compromising. The president refused to approve a budget without border wall funding whereas Democrat leaders refused to approve a budget that allowed funding.

As a result of the shutdown, many federal offices and agencies were closed, and many government funded groups had a decrease in government services. The departments affected include the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, Transportation and Treasury. According to aljazeera.com, approximately 800,000 workers were furloughed, and roughly 420,000 workers within these agencies were forced to work without getting paid (Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget). When the shutdown continued into January, furloughed workers began to protest and marched on the White House.

Congress and the President tried to come to a compromise but have been failing thus far. January 9, 2019, Congress and the President had a meeting to discuss the shutdown; however, the discussed plan did include funding. It did, though, fund the Department of Homeland Security until February 8 and will fund other parts of the government until September. January 14, 2019, President Trump rejected Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposal (allowed the government to be opened for three weeks in order to discuss the border wall). Less than a week after January 14, Trump proposed legislation to protect children who were brought to United States really young and Temporary Protected Status Holders (TPS) in exchange for funding. The Democrats opposed it.

The government shut down until January 24, 2019 and was reopened to allow federal workers to return back to work. February 11 and 12, the President and Congress came to a final agreement; Trump will receive less than $1.375 billion to reinforce the wall, he’ll be able to build 55 miles of new wall and the Department of Homeland Security will receive $1.7 billion in funding for border security. Trump isn’t very happy; however, the likelihood of another shutdown is very low. However, when the President signs the new bill, he plans to also declare national emergency.