The Government Shutdown: What’s Going On?

The United States is experiencing the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. How does this affect you?

The United States is currently experiencing the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The government shut down at midnight on Dec. 22, 2018.

Why?

A government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to direct funds. Congress had until Sept. 30, 2018 to pass 12 appropriation bills that discuss where federal funds can be spent. Only five out of 12 passed.

Lawmakers then had until Dec. 21, 2018 to enact legislation to fund the programs that were covered in the remaining seven appropriations bills. Since they did not meet the December deadline, the government partially shut down.

Why didn’t they make the deadline?

President Trump is asking for $5 billion to start building a wall at the border between Mexico and the U.S. Republican and Democrats are disagreeing on the funds for this.

Before the shutdown, the Senate passed a spending bill that completely funded the government but didn’t include funds for the wall. Trump threatened to veto the bill.

The new Democratic House majority has passed the 2018 Senate bill to reopen the government that doesn’t include funding for the wall, but the new Senate, which is still mainly Republicans, won’t take up that bill.

This affects me how?

The shutdown has affected Homeland Security, Justice, State and Treasury, and several other agencies like NASA. About 800,000 government workers are living without pay.

If you are planning to fly soon you might run into long waiting lines for security, as Transportation Security Administrations officers are calling out of work this week because they aren’t receiving paychecks.

Consolidation loan applications are on hold. Therefore, if you happen to have a pending loan consolidation application, it won’t be completed. If you have specific questions about your federal financial aid, customer service is unavailable through the Department of Education.

Although Federal Student Aid isn’t directly affected, some information needed for federal aid depends on information from other federal agencies, several of which are closed.

The IRS said that the public will be able to officially file their taxes on Jan. 29, and you will also get your tax refund as long as the government remains shut down.

If you are wanting to go hiking soon, some National Parks around the country are closed. However, many of them still have their gates open. Without having all the employees they need to maintain the parks, they are getting destroyed by human activity.

How long will this last?

No one is sure.

President Trump has threatened in a meeting to keep the government partially closed for “months or even years” and was considering declaring a national emergency to build it without congressional approval.

 

Edited by Vanessa Rodriguez 

Featured image by Element5 Digital, Pexels