A government shutdown happens when nonessential government offices can no longer remain open due to lack of funding. The lack of funding usually happens when there is a delay in the approval of the federal budget. The shutdown continues until parties can reach a compromise and a budget bill passes.
The last government shutdown, that began on December 22, 2018, is due to a disagreement, in the budget, for the President’s wall. Congress had offered President Trump $1.7 billion towards building his border wall, but he had a different amount in mind. He asked for $5.7 billion and when he was denied the money, he declared he’d be “proud to shutdown the government for border security.”
This will be the 21st government shut down since first one, after the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act was passed in 1976.
Even though some people probably didn’t even notice the inconvenience of the partial shut down, around 800,000 people lived without income.
When the shut down was announced, I expected to feel effects directly. Since I still saw police and got my mail everyday, I didn’t really think anything had actually changed because of it. But even though our mail still came, this didn’t mean that everything was just fine. Many things stopped running as usual, such as Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, and NASA.
Other things that had been affected by the government shut down were:
During the shutdown, the airport workers who are responsible for screening passengers and their luggage, were out of work. The number of sick calls continuously rose, and more and more people quit their jobs all together given their lack of an income.
Some parks were shutdown, and others were still open. Some of the parks that remained open decided on a partial closure due to the fact that they were under staffed.
Public health and science
Inspections of chemical factories, power plants, water treatment plants and other industrial places stopped because the Environmental Protection Agency had to send home most of its employees in charge of inspecting pollution and making sure laws were followed.
Some government research labs had also been shut down, and its researchers were sent home. Funding for the research had been affected by the shut down as well.
Other services have been shut down, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Food inspection and financial aid
The Food and Drug Administration stopped its normal inspections of foods with a high risk of contamination.
Food assistance programs for women, children and Native Americans were still operating on the state level until the funding provided by the federal government runs out. After funds run out it will shut down too until the shutdown is officially over.
The Internal Revenue Service
Most IRS operations stopped. Only 12% of the employees were still working. In an effort to not interfere with annual tax returns, the White House said it would bring back the other IRS employees, but it was unclear if they had the authority to make that happen.
Law enforcement and immigration courts
Many workers from the F.B.I., Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Prisons, Customs and Border Protection, Coast Guard, the Secret Service and others, were out of work because of the shut down.
Even though immigration court was backlogged before, after the government announced the shutdown, the courts also shut down. No cases were being moved forward and people will have to continue to wait for their hearing.
With all these services and citizens being affected by the shutdown, it’s sad to think our government let it go on as long as it did. It lasted over a month and people were ready for it to be over.