The current government shutdown is due to a topic that many Americans are familiar with. On December 22nd, President Trump and Congressional leaders found themselves unable to reach an agreement on a spending deal for Trump’s proposed Mexico border wall. Requiring nearly 5.7 billion dollars, this legislation has been immensely controversial. Currently, this is the longest shutdown in US history. Although this is only a partial government shutdown, over 800,000 federal workers are working without pay or are furloughed.
Government shutdowns can be either a partial or full shutdown. They occur when appropriations bills for budget legislation are not passed before the end of the fiscal year. Annually, these 12 appropriations bills must be passed and signed by Congress and the President respectively. A partial government shutdown occurs when Congress and the President disagree before these 12 appropriations bills have been signed but after some of the bills have been passed. These bills are responsible for the allocation of funds and significantly affect government spending. In this shutdown, the majority of the government was funded – yet the shutdown still affects critical departments and employees.
Depending on what departments are affected by the government shutdown, there can be a variety of consequences. Although essential employees often continue to work during the shutdown, they are not paid until the shutdown has ended. Other federal employees may be furloughed during the shutdown. During a furlough, employees are neither paid nor required to work.
This partial shutdown has affected nearly a quarter of the government, including Border Patrol, Immigration, and the TSA. Currently, nine federal departments are affected. Many employees in these agencies are required to work without pay during the shutdown as they have been deemed essential. Absenteeism in the TSA has increased due to this. Also, those furloughed are increasingly applying for unemployment benefits as the shutdown stretches onward without an end in sight.
The shutdown also has the potential to affect individuals who are not federal employees. The Department of Agriculture has been hit by the shutdown, leading to the possibility of a lack of funding for food stamps in February. As the government shutdown continues, the effects will become increasingly apparent for the United States.