Still Shutdown

Karina Benjamin, Staff Writer

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Does our government ever confuse you? I know it confuses me most of the time, but this government shutdown has been more confusing than usual. I’ve got your back with this simplified rundown of everything you need to know about the current government shutdown.

Especially with this political climate, it is hard to understand fully what all is happening, especially for many high school students who may not be affected by the shutdown. The government shutdown has now lasted over a month and is the longest shutdown in US history.

About 800,000 government workers have been affected by this shutdown. They have not been working so they have not received money that they need to support themselves and their family. Even those who have been working are not getting paid until after the shutdown and it is not guaranteed they will be paid at all, however, they have been after past shutdowns.

A government shutdown is basically when Congress and/or the president refuse/fail to pass spending bills for the next year. A partial government shutdown began after midnight on December 21 because a spending bill has not been passed. Federal agencies have to stop all non-essential functions until the legislation is passed. Workers don’t get paid and services are stopped. Public service operations, like police and fire services, continue because they are deemed essential.

So far, several bills still need to be passed through the house and the Senate, however, they also need to be signed by the president. President Trump has refused to sign the bills until $5.7 billion in funding for the border wall is included in the spending plans. On Saturday, Trump tried to make a deal with Democrats by offering temporary protection for some undocumented immigrants covered by the DACA program and money for humanitarian aid and drug detection in exchange for his $5.7 billion.

Democrats quickly rejected the offer saying that it was not a solution for the things they wanted and only delayed the problem. Some Republican supporters also are unhappy with this plan, while others think it is a good solution. Both sides can’t get everything they want, which means compromise is the only solution to reopen the government. Trump’s proposal will most likely receive its first vote on Thursday and all the Republicans and seven Democrats need to vote for it in the Senate in order for it to advance, which, if current trends continue, is unlikely to happen.

Both parties are waiting for the other to give in, so until that happens the government shutdown will continue and government workers are going to continue to go without pay and may not be able to afford basic life expenses. The government agencies affected will remain closed as well until a deal is agreed upon.

While this may seem far away in Washington, D.C., the shutdown still affects us here and around Fort Collins. In Rocky Mountain National park many employees have been volunteering to keep the park clean. Also, they have had to close all the bathrooms and trash bins because there was no one to empty them.

Some funding for CSU’s research and other funding is on hold. Many families in our community have parents who have not been able to work and have been greatly affected by the shutdown. It is important to understand what is happening in the government and how it affects everything around us. Hopefully, this helped clear up some of questions you may have had. If you still have questions, comment below and The Highlighter will find answers for you!