Government shutdown

Rex Snow, MVC News Editor

On December 22, 2018, the United States government shut down due to arguments over the allocation of funds for the 2019 fiscal year. Congress and President Donald Trump have not been able to reach agreement on how the budget should be allocated, as both have different agendas to push. The president wants $5 billion in federal funds towards construction of a border wall between the U.S and Mexico. Attempts have been made to resolve the conflict with the new congress, but no concrete progress has been made thus far. Furthermore, the president warned that he is willing to keep the government shut down until the conflict around border wall funding is resolved.

During a government shutdown, non-essential services are shut down. For example, people employed at monuments, museums and national parks are forced to not work. These workers are required to be unpaid the whole time as well. Other federal employees receive pay, but their checks get pushed back until the government is reopened. During the initial process of shutting down the government, federal employees have to do some closing operations without any pay.

About 420,000 federal employees are currently working without pay for a week. Some come from the DEA, FBI, Coast Guard, Homeland Security, and the IRS. Another 380,000 have been furloughed from their respective departments, including the Transportation Department, Department of Housing, Urban Development, NASA, the State Department, and the IRS. For the most part, the IRS has stopped working, with only 12 percent of its staff working, all without

pay. This means that people cannot file their taxes and get potential funds.

“The government needs to reopen soon so that federal workers can get their money,” said Tony Thompson, 12.

Many operations are continuing to run properly during the shutdown. The post office is functional, as it is self-funded and not paid for by taxes. Other programs like the U.S Citizen and Immigration Services will continue operations because it is funded by user fees as well. Major programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are still sending out checks to their recipients. However, there are questions about how long these benefits will be available.

Federal Courts are still open as a result of court fees and will continue to do so, even after running out of funds under the the Anti-Deficiency Act. The TSA is considered essential, so it will continue to run. Additionally, the FDA, which inspects food and drugs, is only operating with 20% of its employees.

Services funded through September 2019, like the Veterans Affairs Department, will continue to operate. Special counsel Robert Muller’s Russia investigation will continue due to its funding regardless. This is because funds for the Special Counsel investigation comes from the Treasury Department indefinitely until the investigation closes. So far, the shutdown is already the longest in U.S history. It is possible that the shutdown will continue on for some time to come. If so, it is unknown how big of an impact this will have in the long run.