By Staff Writer Gabriella Barthe
In the wake of the most recent governmental shutdown, many have been left struggling to make ends meet, and many more with numerous questions.
Starting December 22, 2018 and running into the new year, this shutdown became the longest running battle over funding the United States has seen.
While political leaders and lawmakers discussed for 35 days proposed governmental budgets, many wondered when their next paychecks would arrive. Due to operations being halted, so did the money for day to day workers. This didn’t mean that people were able to take vacation or sick days though.
Many workers are considered to be furlough. This in essence, means that they were put into a nonpaid status. For furloughed workers who were considered to have “essential” jobs, this meant that despite lost wages, they still had to report to work.
So many are expected to report to work and not see their money for over a month and due to their essential status couldn’t even call out sick.
TSA officers, Coast Guards, Customs and Border officers, Boarder Patrol, Immigration Services, DHS employees, ICE employees, FBI agents, the Secret Service, Prison personnel, Air Traffic workers, State Departments, the IRS, the FDA, the National Park Service, and the NOAA were all affected by the government shutdown among others.
Of these workers 40% of these workers are people of color and a third of the departments that had to halt work stood around 45% minority employees.
Many reached out in solidarity with these workers sending gifts and good tidings to those working through the tough circumstances.
Though the reality is that many people were struggling to put gas into the tanks of their cars to make it to work each day.
This didn’t just affect those who worked for the government. People living in low income housing areas that were given assistance to pay rent were found to be pressured by landlords to make up the differences on their own.
So what was the 2018-2019 government shutdown for? Government Shutdowns occur when negotiations over governmental budgets are not able to meet a consensus.
Due to growing political tensions and clashing beliefs on what funds should be spent on, this very clearly proved itself to be inevitable.
One such reason was President Donald Trump’s request of $5.7 billion to build and maintain a southern border wall which has been highly contested by the Democratic Party.
President Trump has announced that he is glad to shut down the government over this issue as he believes it is a matter of national security.
On Friday January 25, President Trump and Federal officials agreed to reopen the Federal Government for three weeks following a stopgap spending bill.
This bill restored normal operations at several agencies but will only remain in effect until February 15.
Though this bill will allow workers to receive backpay and return to work, it does not mean that a budget has been agreed upon.
Should the government not approve their budget by February 15, or should it not include the money for the border wall that President Trump seeks, it could be over ruled.
President Trump has already announced that should this be the case he would either shutdown the government yet again or declare a national emergency to allocate money to the building of the border wall respectively.
In the meantime, many are lobbying to pass new bills to stop future government shutdown issues from affecting general workers.
The End Government Shutdowns Act, The Stop STUPIDITY Act, The Solidarity in Salary Act, The Shutdown to End All Shutdowns Act, and others have all been proposed.
A general theme among them being that elected officials will see their pay being withheld as well if a shutdown is put into effect.
For now, the country waits to see money trickle back into their savings accounts.
Perhaps one day soon we will see what the actual 2019 budget will be, but for now, we wait.