Our next issue hits stands on 2/25/19!
The longest government shutdown in American history has come to a close — for the time being. The shutdown, lasting 35 days, was temporarily brought to a close when President Donald Trump signed a bill reopening the government until Feb. 15.
President Trump caved on his original demand to secure $5.7 Billion in funding for a southern border wall. The wall, one of Trump’s original campaign promises, has been met with fierce opposition by Democrats including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi has gone as far as to call the wall immoral. The majority of Democrats were simply concerned with the price tag of the wall. In his speech to the U.S. Senate on Dec. 21, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York stated, “This may have been the most chaotic week of what's undoubtedly the most chaotic presidency ever in the history of the United States… So, President Trump, you will not get your wall.”
In response to the criticisms he has faced from both sides, President Trump has doubled down on his approach to secure wall funding. He took to Twitter on Jan. 25, tweeting, “This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”
During the shutdown, roughly 800,000 government workers went without pay for two pay periods, an entire month. Government employees like janitors, security guards and other entry-level employees were the most affected by the shutdown.
“Many of those considered to be “essential employees” are required to continue to work while not receiving pay, though Congress passed a law that would give workers back pay after the shutdown ends,” said Dr. Steven Nawara, assistant professor of political science. “However, the promise of back pay does not pay the rent, mortgage, and grocery bills for the past month and, as a result, federal workers are placed in an awful position of being required to work in exchange for the promise of payment at some future unknown date.”
The likelihood of another shutdown on Feb. 15 places those workers who are most vulnerable after this past shutdown in an even more vulnerable position. “The 800,000 federal workers that haven’t been paid in the last month aren’t going to restaurants, aren’t buying homes and cars, and aren’t purchasing luxury items,” said Nawara. “That’s going to have a very negative ripple effect on the overall economy.”
Trump has previously stated the possibility of declaring a national emergency to secure immediate funding for the wall, a move that Democrats and even some Republicans, such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, have warned against. “It’s just not a good precedent to set,” said Rubio on the NBC program “Meet the Press.”
A bicameral, bipartisan conference committee, made of 17 members of congress are actively working to secure a new deal for border security and funding before the fast-approaching deadline of Feb. 15.