What You Should Know About the Government Shutdown
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Politics and Activism

What You Should Know About The Government Shut-Down

President Trump may be waiting on his wall, but government workers are waiting on their paychecks.


On December 22nd, President Trump called for a government-shutdown concerning the lack of federal funding, $5.7 billion, for a wall across the US-Mexico Border. A government shutdown itself is when "nonessential" federal agencies and employees are closed or put on temporary leave due to a lack of approval from Congress or the President on the federal budget. A big part of the federal budget in this fiscal year is the $5.7 billion Trump wants to allocate towards his border wall, which Democrats are staunchly against. This in turn has caused the government to shut down and many workers to directly and peripherally suffer.

Over 800,000 workers in several departments and government agencies will be furloughed or temporarily put on leave, according to Aljazeera. Those laid off without compensation are considered "nonessential", but those considered "essential" personnel must continue to work without pay. It has been argued that this requirement to work without pay is "inhumane" and the American Federation of Government Employees have recently filed a lawsuit against the US government for this practice. There have been previous lawsuits against the US government due to this practice, and in turn, they have "approved back pay" for federal employees. This shutdown has already lasted nineteen days, which is now the second longest shut-down since former President Bill Clinton instated a government shutdown that lasted 21 days. With strong opposition from the Democrats and Trump, federal workers will indefinitely be out of work and public services, such as national parks, will continue to be closed and unkempt.

Federal funding also supports tribal services, which are currently not functioning. Democratic Representative, Sharice Davids, discussed on NPR the obstacles tribal communities in the United States have faced due to the government shut-down.

"Well, the shutdown directly impacts tribes in a number of different ways... I spoke with one tribal leader who said that they actually lost a tribal member because they were unable to plow the roads so that an emergency service vehicle could get... Could get to him in time. Literally, lives are at stake because the federal government is not up and running in the way that it's supposed to be." (Democratic Rep Sharice Davids on NPR January 6th, 2019)

These services of plowing, health services, and food stocking have been guaranteed to the Native American communities through treaties made with the federal government. Now with the funding for federal assistance programs coming to a halt, tribal communities suffer and if the shutdown continues past February soon millions on programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be compromised as well if "commodity resources" run out.

The lives and salaries of American citizens should not be compromised based on polarizing political ideologies. Compromise is needed from both Trump and the Democrats are in order to bring the government back up to speed. Each is now holding hostage services for the tribal community, federal salaries, and food assistance for the disadvantaged. It'd be wise for our government to think beyond pushing the agenda they have aligned so perfectly with their party allegiance, and instead consider how they can restore the budget and help the people that have already been affected by the shut-down.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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