Government Shutdown

Ben Nichols, staff writer

Federal employees have been feeling blowback as a government shutdown stretches on over funding for the president’s proposed border wall over the past few weeks.


Workers in various government agencies and departments, including the Transportation Security Agency and the National Parks Department, have been working without a paycheck for weeks as the shutdown stretches on since Dec. 22, 2018.


“Morale is, I believe, close to rock bottom, and I think things will start getting really bad if this isn’t fixed by this weekend,” a TSA officer told the Huffington Post.

The shutdown has lasted longer than 21 days, becoming the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Meanwhile, attempts to negotiate a spending plan have only led to bigger arguments, and, reportedly, Trump storming out of a meeting with top Democrats including Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer (check this).


“It wasn’t even a high-stakes negotiation,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday, Jan. 9, following a negotiation with the president. “It was a petulant president of the United States.”

At least 800,000 federal workers have been forced to work without pay or stay home as a result of this battle. Experts estimated the total cost of the shutdown on Jan. 11 to be greater than $6.0 billion, higher than the $5.7 billion Trump had requested for his border wall.


“I can relate,” President Donald Trump told reporters last weekend. “And I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do. And they’ll make adjustments. People understand exactly what’s going on. Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”


According to statistics provided by the Department of Labor, there was an increase of almost 4,000 federal employees filing for unemployment benefits in the last week of December compared to the week before. Reports also emerged that hundreds of TSA agents were quitting or called out sick at airports as a result of the government shutdown.


On Tuesday, Jan. 8, President Trump went on the air to try and argue for the border wall. Immediately after his televised address, Democrats provided a rebuttal, claiming that Trump was manufacturing a humanitarian crisis and that funding for the border wall was not needed.


The government shutdown is affecting SBHS, as many students have parents who are in the federal government. The lack of income and hope for a resolution have created issues that could potentially last for longer than the shutdown goes on for. Meanwhile, websites and social networks belonging to agencies and departments were shut down.


“I continue to believe the Senate should pass and the President should sign the bills reopening government that the House already passed,” Representative Stephanie Murphy said in a statement.


President Trump tried to employ a variety of methods to re-open the government, including inviting lower-ranking Democrats to try and negotiate with him, and mulling over declaring an emergency to free up funds to build the border wall. However, the shutdown has dragged on as the border wall remains on the drawing board.


“It’s just an annoying thing, because my dad is running out of things to do,” senior Camille Lewis said. “He’s been going out with some of his work people and talking about things because there’s literally so much stuff to do; because he works for Homeland Security, the work he’s doing is unpaid.”


The shutdown has stretched for almost a month, causing major problems with federal employees and civilians alike. Food stamp programs have begun to lose funding for grocery stores, and roads handled by the federal government have not undergone critical repairs. As the next paycheck date approaches, the Senate is planning to host competing votes on Thursday, Jan. 23 to try and extend funding until Feb. 8.


“It’s unconscionable that the United States government would not pay its employees who are going to work every day, providing services to the American people and all those that visit our great country,” J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees told CNN.