Longest government shutdown in U.S. history lasts over a month

Sophie Cohan, Feature Section Editor

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The second shutdown of the U.S. federal government during the Trump Administration, which began Sunday, December 22, and continued into January of 2019, has temporarily ended for three weeks as President Trump agreed to work on a new government budget for the year. He hopes to include a wall along the Mexican-American border. However, this idea has been ridiculed numerous times by other politicians and experts who say that the wall will be ineffective for keeping out illegal immigrants. Trump claims he will call a national emergency – which would allow him to use money designated for other things without permission from Congress – if he doesn’t get the wall.

This has been the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, lasting over a month; it was also the third shutdown of the Trump Administration. Not only did the shutdown mean that the federal government was in a stalemate and unable to fulfill other requirements, the shutdown also impacted nearly 800,000 government workers who were furloughed or forced to work without pay. Agencies that were affected by the shutdown include Congress, Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development,  the Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, and the Treasury and Environmental Protection Agency. The Food and Drug Administration has stopped its routine inspections, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a “stop work” order to all contractors (and they will not be paid), and the Environmental Protection Agency was forced to furlough 95% of its workers. The National Park Service no longer had the funding for trash pick-up or maintenance, meaning that national parks were filling up with garbage, and the Smithsonian museums all closed and sat empty of tourists. Airports also suffered as more and more TSA workers called in sick rather than coming to work without pay. On January 11, most government workers missed their first paycheck.

This temporary end to the shutdown has allowed many government workers to go back to work and earn their paychecks. However, if the government cannot come up with a spending bill, the shutdown may continue. Hopefully, Trump and the House of Representatives will be able to come up with a national budget that fits everyone’s needs within this three-week time limit.

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