Longest government shutdown affects all

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President Donald Trump declared a partial government shutdown on Dec 22. As of Jan 13, Trump’s shutdown is the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States, beating the 21-day shutdown in 1995-1996.

In 2016, one of Trump’s promises that he campaigned with was the wall. He claimed that he would build a wall along the US-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it.

Two years into his presidency, Trump made progress on delivering his promise of a wall on the border. Since then, his terms have changed.

Congressional lawmakers and the president failed to agree to fund the southern border wall on Dec 21. President Trump responded by calling for a partial government shutdown until his demand of $5.7 billion from Congress is honored. When he was first running for president in 2016, Trump claimed that he would accept a one-time payment from Mexico for $5-10 billion for the wall. President Trump’s demand now is that Congress allows for the bill demanding $5.7 be passed to fund his wall. Congress disagreed to the terms set by the president, and Trump called for the government to enter a partial shutdown.

Several federal departments, such as the Food and Drug Association, Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, and other departments are temporarily unpaid, forcing operations to progress slower.

Nearly 42,000 active duty members of the Coast Guard are still working without pay as they are considered “essential employees.” TSA and Customs and Border Patrol employees are also considered essential, however many more TSA agents have been reported as calling in sick than usual.

The FDA is unable to properly conduct operations without funding, causing difficulty in inspecting foods like romaine lettuce for strands of E. coli or cereal for salmonella.

Climate scientists are unable to travel for work. Air-quality monitoring has been hindered and is not operating at full strength. The public won’t be alerted of changes in air pollution or air quality as quickly as they used to.

Trump is not the first president to enter a government shutdown to force a bill through Congress. President Obama entered a government shutdown in 2013 to approve funding legislation for the Affordable Care Act and to set a higher debt ceiling for the government. The Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled house could not reach an agreement on the government spending plan because the Republicans wanted to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act, and the proposed bill would continue to fund it. President Obama shut down the government for 16 days until the house and the Senate came to an agreement, and on Oct 17 he signed a bill that raised the US debt ceiling through March 2015. Obamacare was already written into law and would remain in effect regardless of government action, so his shutdown was to pass the raising of the debt ceiling.

The government remains shut down, and federal employees are still unpaid. 23 days in, the shutdown does not seem to be nearing the end as Trump remains in the White House waiting for Democrats to agree to his terms.

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