The Government Shutdown Continues


Ella Garnett, Editor

The Government shutdown began on December 22nd, 2018 and has now entered its 24th day, making this the longest government shutdown in history. Each day the shutdown continues, the effects are piling up across the country–leaving a large mess to be cleaned up once the government reopens. The shutdown is affecting over 800,000 government employees across the country who have just missed their 1st paycheck due to the shutdown–a hit which many employees are unequipped to take. There are currently no signs of the partial shutdown ending in the coming days, even following Trump’s speaking appearance last week. The shutdown was sparked by disagreements over border wall funding between the President and democrat representatives.

A government shutdown entails the closing of most major government agencies and the furloughing of thousands of employees. Agencies like the F.C.C., E.P.A., F.D.A., and the Department of Homeland Security to name a few. The closing of these major agencies has a domino like effect on the country–projects are put on hold, regulations are no longer being upheld, and public maintenance across the country stops. Senior Natalie Swartz said, “This shutdown has got to end. It’s so bad that now women’s shelters and non-profits are closing.” Federal workers account for 1.5% of the nation’s workforce. Although 1/5 of those employees are located in D.C., the majority of workers effected by the shutdown are outside of the capital. The nine departments affected by the shutdown are commerce, interior, agriculture, transportation, state, justice, homeland security, treasury, and housing and urban development. Depending on the function of each department, employees are deemed essential or nonessential. Homeland security’s employees are mostly essential, while the IRS employees are largely deemed nonessential. Every other department but homeland security has furloughed the majority of their employees. Out of the 800,000 workers affected, about 420,000 are expected to continue working without pay. The states most affected by the shutdown are the midwestern states and in the area surrounding D.C.. The National Parks have lost over 6 million dollars in revenue, having usually received 400,000 dollars a day in fees. All the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed and have lost over 2 millions visitors. The Zoo’s live “Panda Cam” has been deemed nonessential and is no longer streaming footage of the panda until after the shutdown.

“This shutdown has got to end. It’s so bad that now women’s shelters and non-profits are closing.”

In the recent days, Trump has threatened to call a national emergency in order to fund the border wall. If he followed through on this threat, money would be diverted from funding for national disasters like the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Experts are unclear whether or not Trump using his power to issue a national emergency would be constitutional or not. There is no clear definition of what constitutes an emergency, but many agree that the calling the situation at the border a national emergency would be a stretch. Senior Iman Syed added, “I think that the shutdown is terrible because almost a million workers are going without pay and some people, like the TSA agents, are still working without pay. Trump has to be the bigger person and open up the government, because at the end of the this is his shutdown and his responsibility.”