Government shutdown becomes longest in American history

Today, the current government shutdown entered it’s 24th day. It became the longest in United States history on Saturday, and President Trump and Congressional Democrats are still at odds over what a spending bill for the next fiscal year should include. Most of the impasse concerns spending on border security. Before the shutdown started, according to Aljazeera, the Senate passed a continuing resolution that would’ve funded the government through February 8th without funding for President’s proposed border wall. Trump, however, announced that he would not sign a bill that failed to include $5.7 billion for the wall. The House then passed a version that would include that money, but it didn’t get any traction in the Senate. Neither side appears willing to budge, and with the president saying that the shutdown could last “months or even years,” the end is nowhere in sight. So, if we’ll be living with an unprecedentedly long government shutdown, what does that mean? An important clarification to make is that the government shutdown is only partial.  The government makes a distinction between ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ employees. As explained by Fox News, essential employees, like TSA employees or members of Congress, are kept on payroll, while non-essential employees, like those who work at national parks or museums, are sent home. These furloughed employees will be brought back and paid eventually, once the government is funded. Schools, on the other hand, are funded by state governments, so they will not feel the impact of the shutdown, at least not until it reaches February 1st, at which point, according to The Oregonian, Head Start programs could, but not necessarily will, run out of money.

To end the shutdown, Congress will need to agree on a spending bill to fund the government. This could take the form of a bill that would allocate money for the entire fiscal year, as the president seems to prefer. More likely, however, it will be a continuing resolution (CR). A CR would allow for Congress to fund the government for a month or two while they debated the contentious details that would need to be decided upon before a long-term deal could be reached. Until then, the shutdown will continue, leaving employees unpaid and revenue-generating work undone.