The Government Shutdown: Who Does It Affect and What Does It Mean for America?

Kaylee Dillon, Staff Writer

If you’ve taken the chance to turn on the T.V. or check your phone in the past three weeks, you would be aware of the government shutdown. The U.S. government has been closed since December 22nd, 2018, with no certain end in sight. At face value, the government shutdown can seem confusing or even scary to a high school student, so it is incredibly important to discuss what a government shutdown is all about. Here’s what has occurred and will continue as long as the government shutdown prevails.

Government workers have been going without pay since December. Any government worker that is deemed to be essential is required to work without pay during the shutdown. This includes airport security agents, mailmen/women, and other executive agency workers, totaling a rough estimate of 800,000 workers impacted by the shutdown. Because of this, many of these people have called in sick to work because they cannot afford to work a day without pay, or because they are hoping their absence will urge President Trump and Congress to collaborate and resolve the government shutdown.

Whenever that may be, these 800,000 workers are still working without pay for now. Backpay has recently been approved for these workers, however the problem for these Americans and their families isn’t solved just by backpay. These people will likely not receive the money that they are owed by the government until a much later time, meanwhile there are bills to pay and mouths to feed at home. Food stamps are expected to be funded throughout February, but the end of the shutdown is not clear and quick decisions will need to be made in order to prevent the current situations of government workers from becoming dire.

National parks and reserves are suffering at the hands of the government shutdown as well. Since the shutdown, reports of vandalism at the Joshua Tree National Park has incited public outcry for something more to be done about the shutdown and how helpless it leaves some working Americans. Instead of Congress or President Trump jumping in to approve temporary aid to these national parks, park rangers have been relying on the assistance of volunteers.

President Trump’s public image and overall popularity are expected to take a blow in this process, and the outlook for Congress is not much better. This recent shutdown is a clear look into the political platform in America as of late; divisive and tirelessly stubborn. And while the chaos that has ensued due to the shutdown is important, it is equally essential to consider the possible outcomes to this stagnant state in America.

Worst case scenario, the government shutdown continues on indefinitely for months. Congress will likely keep passing short-term legislation to keep certain vital parts of the country working, but others will suffer dramatically. Before that happens, however, it is likely that one of the three sides taking responsibility for the shutdown will give in. Either the Democrats will give in and approve President Trump’s proposed budget for the border wall, Republicans will give in and work with Democrats to shoot down the President’s proposed budget and pass their own, or President Trump himself will give up for now and pursue the border wall at another time.

Families of government workers look expectantly to Washington D.C. hoping that besides the dragging on of the shutdown, they will be provided and catered for and not be left to fend for themselves.