If you haven't heard, our federal government is currently shut down and has been for the past 30+ days. Trump threatened the shutdown in December, citing that if the Democrats would not agree to the wall he wants on the U.S.-Mexican border, he would shut it all down until they did. Thirty-plus days later, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are about to miss their second paycheck since the shutdown began. What do we know?
We know that this is a nightmare for the federal employees, the furlough taking place right before Christmas. At least 800,000 employees are currently without pay and will be for the foreseeable future. Trump's tantrum over a wall that doesn't need to be built is now affecting immigration processes, airport security, national parks and museums, public health departments such as the FDA (who carry out our necessary food inspections), IRS, food aid programs such as food stamps and school lunch programs, many law enforcement departments, and the Violence Against Women Act...which expired shortly after the shutdown began. Along with the fact that furloughed federal employees are suffering and are now being asked to work without pay, many of the daily government functions that we often take for granted are being affected.
One of the biggest stories of this shutdown has been federal employee's struggle to make ends meet without paychecks. Many are now turning to food banks or other local assistance to do so. Many places across the country have been setting up programs to provide free cooked meals for furloughed employees and their families. Thousands have already filed for unemployment with nowhere else to turn, though the claims themselves could take weeks to even process as the shutdown continues. However, the approximately 420,000 federal employees who have been ordered to return to work with no pay do not technically qualify for unemployment benefits, leaving them in an unfair and dangerous position.
Trump's solution? $5.7 billion dollars for his border wall, from the Democrats, and he will then reopen the government. They, of course, have repeatedly refused to accept this offer. His most recent attempt at compromise was a promise to offer a deportation reprieve, good for three years for illegal immigrants and those under DACA. This offer is due to go up for a vote but Democrats have refused this offer as well, not wishing to dangle the fate of so many in return for a reopened government and an expensive and unnecessary wall.
To add fuel to the fire, as the shutdown continues, the Supreme Court recently instituted Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. The ban prevents anyone who has transitioned from entering the military, as well as preventing individuals from transitioning while they are still serving. The recent decision puts the county in even more disarray than when the shutdown began.