March 30, 2023

The Shutdown and Its Effects

For over a month, the US Federal Government was in a partial government shutdown. This shutdown was caused by a disagreement in the Senate. An appropriations bill, one that proposes spending in the future, for the fiscal year 2019 was passed by Congress. President Trump refused to sign the bill because it did not fund his planned wall. He even stated “I am proud to shut down the government for border security … I will be the one to shut [the government] down. I’m not going to blame you for it … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.” President Trump recently agreed to reopen the government. However, he has threatened to shut it down again if “a fair deal from Congress” is not obtained by February 15.

While politicians were pointing fingers at each other, workers were suffering. During a government shutdown, nonessential federal employees (national park workers, IRS workers) get furloughed. These nonessential employees were not getting paid and they and their families were prevented from obtaining the money needed to pay for essentials such as rent, mortgage, and their bills. Vital workers such as the TSA and air traffic controllers continued to work for no pay, being promised to be repaid after the shutdown. The shutdown posed a problem because many Americans live check to check making one less paycheck a problem. Meanwhile, while government workers were furloughed, members of Congress were still getting paid their salaries. However, many members of Congress refused their salaries or donated their salaries to charities that would benefit the unpaid federal employees.

In New York alone, 16,000 federal employees were on furlough and struggled to pay their bills. However, local organizations and food banks were willing to help federal employees. Food, goods, and services were given to employees due to the struggles they were facing. Local businesses were willing to temporarily hire government workers to help them make ends meet. People come together in times of need to help each other out.