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Government Shutdown: What's Next

Republican's and Democrat's Inability to Compromise Shutters Government

By Jasmine Hardy, Howard University News Service
On January 22, 2018

Photo by outsidethebeltway.com

WASHINGTON -- Americans woke up Monday morning to learn that they can’t get a passport, they can’t visit several federal and national parks, and air traffic will be slower because only one-third of the air traffic controllers are at work. Also, if you happened to be interested in obtaining a gun permit, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives will also be closed, so you’re out of luck.  Certain child welfare programs also will cease.

The government has shut down and thousands of federal employees were temporarily laid off today after Democrats and Republicans failed Friday to agree on a temporary spending plan to keep it going.  Those out of work for now include most  federal employees, including most of Trump’s administration staff. The departments of Education, Defense also sent home most of their workers.

Typically, during shutdowns all non-essential government functions stop, including museums and national parks. This year it has been decided that some of these places will remain open, though they will be grossly understaffed. The Smithsonian museums as well as the National Zoo will be open to visitors on Monday and there is a good chance the National Mall will remain open as well. 

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, popular tourist attractions, were scheduled to close but a special arrangement with the state of New York, will keep them open.  While the military will to continue with normal duty, its members will not be getting paid during the shutdown either.

Other services relevant to most people that will not be affected include the U.S postal service, federal courthouses, customs and border control processes, and unemployment compensation.

Additionally, the government will be losing a significant amount of money every single day it continues to be inactive, one of the bigger incentives for Congress members to hurry and reach an agreement on the spending bill.

The last time the government experienced a shutdown was back in 2013; however, this time history was made because it was the first time a shutdown had occurred when both the White House and Congress were controlled by the same party. It also happened to occur on the one-year anniversary of the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.

A spending bill was able to get passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, but once it reached the Senate, Democrats and Republicans were not satisfied and failed to pass the bill. The main issues the two parties could not agree upon were what to do about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, children who had been brought to America illegally by their parents, the Children Health Improvement Program, which aids poor children and medical taxes that were put in place during the Obama administration.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans are blaming Democrats for the shutdown and Democrats are pointing the finger at Republicans.  President Donald Trump tweeted about the shutdown early Saturday morning: “[Democrats] could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead,” adding the hashtag #DemocratShutdown.

Senator Chuck Schumer later wrote his own tweet about the shutdown saying, “This will be the #TrumpShutdown. There is no one who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in more than President Trump.”

Members of both sides were scrambling for an agreement Monday morning.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California sounded a tone that aligns with Democrats’ aspirations.   

 “The House Bill has been rejected with bipartisan opposition,” Harris said in an email to Howard University News Service.  “Time for a deal that solves the issues the vast majority of Americans support-funding the government, reauthorizing CHIP, and protecting Dreamers.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee released a statement on her website that pointed a finger at Republicans.

 “Make no mistake,” Lee said, “Republican dysfunction, incompetence and cruelty has caused this shutdown and upended the lives of millions of Americans. Instead of turning out the lights, Republicans should be working with us to pass bipartisan measures to protect DACA recipients, ensure funding for CHIP and community health centers, and enact a spending bill that uplifts families.”

Where both parties seemed to stand firm in their stance was immigration, specifically the status of recipients of DACA and whether the so-called Dreamers will be protected from deportation or not.

 

 

 

 

 

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