Legislative Impasse Leads to Government Shutdown


By Wyatt Zwik, Academics Editor

The government has been in a partial shutdown since December 22, with hundreds of thousands of federal employees working without pay and non-essential services being closed.

Primarily, the shutdown is due to President Donald Trump’s refusal to consider anything that doesn’t allocate funding for his proposed wall on the Mexican border. The House of Representatives has passed a bill to fund some agencies in charge of finance such as the IRS. However, it is likely the bill will not make it past the Senate.

AP Government teacher Joseph Edwards attributes the extended government shutdown to push back from conservative media who egged the president on to refuse anything that does not fully fund his border wall.

“Before winter break President Trump indicated he would be more than willing to shut down the government if didn’t get money for the wall, so in that regards in my mind it’s mainly President Trump who caused this,” Edwards said. “There was a bill  that the Senate had passed that would have provided for funding and the White House had indicated before break that they were going to accept it and then it seems as if there was push back from seemingly conservative media that then caused the White House to reconsider and be willing to hold this fight over the funding of the wall.”

Senior Umar Ahmed thinks that the government shutdown is mostly due to irresponsibility on the part of President Trump.

“I think the President and his childish demeanor are responsible for the government shutdown,” Ahmed said. “I think that him holding 800,000 employees hostage to fulfill his campaign promise is pretty problematic. Especially when this wall is now going to be at the expense of the tax payer instead of Mexico paying for it.”

Politically, the situation could blow in Republican’s faces. As the government shutdown progresses, more and more services will run out of funding and will be forced to be shut down. Federal workers will be forced to work without pay, and if the shutdown runs on long enough food stamps will be cut off in February.

“Another indicator that the White House kind of acknowledges that this could be bad for them or could be blamed for the cause of it is that they have tried to minimize some of the effects on regular Americans,” Edwards said. “They’ve made sure that social security checks and that kind of stuff is going to go out, there was a lot of talk that they weren’t going to get their tax refunds, and they’ve indicated that that’s going to be okay. The main effects that we might see are increased travel times because TSA agents might not be willing to go to work, but I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 800,000 workers are not going to get paid, and could potentially lead to us making us less safe with fewer agents doing their jobs at the airport, border, and coast guard.”

Senior Zubair Muhammad believes the shutdown is a just a signal of incompetency in our government, with both parties being at fault.

“I think that the government shutdown is a representation of our government’s incompetence. I’m not trying to lean towards one side, but it shows that nobody is able to negotiate because we have our president who’s hell-bent on getting 5.6 billion dollars when we’re currently trillions of dollars in debt,” Muhammad said. “On the other side, we have Democrats who maybe aren’t taking national security that seriously, so despite what side you’re on it’s definitely a representation of government incompetence.”

When will we finally get out of this government shutdown, you may ask? Well, according to Edwards, it all depends on if Democrats and Republicans can somehow reconcile their differences to pass some sort of budget.
“I really don’t know,” Edwards said with an exasperated sigh. “President Trump indicated that he’d be willing to do it for years, I don’t it’s going to be that long, I kind of thought during his speech last night that he was going to declare some sort of state of emergency to go forward with funding for the wall and have it fought out in the courts. Even if he’d denied the ability to build the wall using those powers under a state of emergency he’d be able to say at least he tried. But since he didn’t do that last night, I don’t know, they’re so far apart, the Democrats and the Republicans, and now for Democrats too its become this issue where any sort of money for a wall seems like a loss and they feel like they’re winning this public relations battle so they’re not willing to give any money and for Trump he really needs to get something otherwise his political base it going to be very upset he wasn’t able to get anything. I don’t think it looks very good.”
Ahmed believes it’s mainly up to Republicans get past their partisan differences and work with Democrats to fix the shutdown in order to get government services running smoothly.
“I think Republicans in Congress are going to have to say enough is enough and work with Democrats to get something passed, workers aren’t getting paid and trash is piling up in national parks among various other issues. However, if they are to resolve this they need to do it soon.”
As of now, it seems as if the government shutdown will continue for a quite a bit longer. Just yesterday, President Trump met with congressional leaders and stormed out due to their refusal to consider funding a border wall. The shutdown is set to break records, and will most likely become the longest shutdown in modern history.