Lasting 35 days and becoming the longest government shutdown in history, President Donald Trump signed a short-term funding bill on Jan. 25, temporarily ending the shutdown until Feb. 15.
But this stopgap bill did not include the president’s request for $5.7 billion towards a border wall and the new deadline is rapidly approaching.
The shutdown was triggered when President Trump and Congress were unable to agree on how to fund the operations of the federal government for the 2019 fiscal year. Trump wants to spend an estimated $5.7 billion dollars in federal funds on a U.S. border wall. After getting heavy criticism from some right-winged media outlets, President Trump felt the urgency to “build that wall,” regardless of how the shutdown would affect thousands of Americans across the country.
Trump continues to stress that a border wall is a necessity for national security and that if Congress does not agree to fund it by the Feb. 15 deadline, he will either reinstate the government shutdown or potentially declare a national emergency allowing existing funds to be used for the purpose of building the wall.
During last night's State of the Union address, it was evident that the Democrats and Republicans on Capital Hill have still not reached a compromise on border security.
"My administration has sent to Congress a common sense proposal to end the crisis on the Southern border," Trump said. "It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling and plans for a new physical barrier or wall to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry. In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall, but the proper wall never got built. I will get it built."
Meanwhile, the hundreds of thousands of government workers who missed two paychecks during the partial shutdown are still recovering and many are awaiting their promised paychecks.
The government shutdown, which started Dec. 22, 2018 and lasted through Jan. 25, 2019, by far had the biggest effect on Americans. Sophomore Cami Rogers explained how her family was directly affected by the shutdown.
“My family was definitely affected by the government shutdown because my dad works for NIH [National Institutes of Health],” Rogers said. “Also, I live in Washington D.C. so the transportation throughout the city was temporarily shut down. I don’t have a car, so I had to either walk or rely on other people to get to my destinations.”
Like Cami, hundreds of thousands of Americans all over the country felt the effects of the shutdown. Not everyone has savings and living paycheck to paycheck is their only way of surviving. The shutdown left people wondering how they were going to pay their bills and even how they were going to feed their families.
Government shutdowns have occurred throughout the history of the United States, however they have become increasingly more common in recent decades.
The last government shutdown to extend 20 days was under former President Bill Clinton’s administration. This shutdown took place in late 1995 and lasted 21 days. Just like the shutdown happening now, this also created mass inconvenience for American citizens.
However, government shutdowns are not an effective way of addressing our nation's fiscal challenges. The only purpose of shutdowns is to put off making tough decisions which results in consequences for our economy, our budget, and our citizens. Lawmakers need to work together in an orderly fashion if we want to see any real changes in our country.
By MELANIE RAIBLE
Featured Photos: New York Times, The Hill images.