Record-Setting Government Shutdown Hurts Employees

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Record-Setting Government Shutdown Hurts Employees

Lindsey Ingrey, Global and Domestic News Editor

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As the government shutdown reaches its 25th day, Congress remains divided and essentially at an impasse. President Trump remains committed to his border wall, demanding 5.7 billion dollars to construct a barrier made of steel slats along the US-Mexico border. The Democratic House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), is blocked by the Republican Senate, led by Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), as the Senate has refused to vote on anything that doesn’t contain funding for Trump’s border wall. President Trump has the power to veto anything passed by the House and the Senate, which gives him a lot of leverage during negotiations.

As for the wide-reaching effects of the shutdown, many government employees from the IRS to the National Park Service have either been furloughed or are currently working without pay. Approximately 420,000 federal employees are working without pay, according to a report from the Senate Appropriations Committee, and another 380,000 are furloughed, meaning that they will not work and will not be paid. Last Friday was payday for these workers, and without paychecks, government employees have been streaming to local food banks or community centers and turning to the public for help via platforms like GoFundMe. There are over 1,500 pages set up by government employees that are currently active on the site.

This shutdown remains the longest in US History, beating out the 1995 shutdown that lasted 21 days. Hopefully, Congress and President Trump can compromise and reopen the government, if only for a short time, as government should not be held hostage over a border wall.

Photo Courtesy of RaNeeka Claxton Witty, Colgate University