By Nola Killpack
As I write this, the US is currently going through the longest government shutdown in its history, all because of a dispute over the 5 billion dollars Trump wants for his border wall. 800,000 federal employees have been affected and many are struggling to get the essentials and pay bills without desperately needed paychecks. Officially, this is only a partial shutdown, meaning that services deemed essential still continue as normal (though employees are expected to work without paychecks.)
- The list of government agencies that have closed includes the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, State, Transportation, Treasury, and the Environmental Protection Agency
- The FDA has stopped routine inspections on all except ‘high risk’ foods
- Services for Native Americans like law enforcement or disaster relief have been particularly affected, reservations are losing essential funding for healthcare and food, and their residents have been trapped in their homes because of unplowed roads
- National Parks have been forced to stop important services like trash collection and, because many have closed, are currently losing $400,000 a day. Additionally, because of a limited number of employees, seven people have died in National Parks and protected lands are being vandalized. It could take decades for parks to recover.
- TSA workers have been calling in sick rather than work without pay.
- Thousands of immigration court hearings have been canceled.
- Government websites have been deemed insecure with security certificates expiring
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have had to delay preparation for this year’s hurricane season
- City governments have been forced to use their own money for things like keeping Washington DC clean and keeping Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty open
- With NASA and the National Science Foundation closed, people undergoing cancer drug trials can’t be treated and the Hubble Telescope can’t be fixed
- An important organization that helps US citizens deal with sexual assault or domestic violence overseas has closed
What’s the White House doing to put an end to all of this? Here are some quotes that’ll hopefully help you get a feel for the president’s role in all this:
The shutdown can go on “for a very long period of time- months or even years.” – Donald Trump
“Absolutely we could call a national emergency because of the security of our country.” – Donald Trump
“I’m very proud of doing what I’m doing. I don’t call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and safety of our country.” – Donald Trump
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