Why Did the Government Shutdown?

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On Friday the 19th at midnight, unable to compromise on a bill to fund the government,  immigration, or healthcare, the federal government shutdown. Right now, there are a lot of complicated issues both parties need to solve. What prompted the shutdown was President Trump’s decision to shut down DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) as a bargaining chip against Senate Democrats. Trump’s plan was to reinstate DACA in exchange for the funding for his border wall, but things went wrong. Trump changed his mind about the exchange, and in response, Senate Democrats refused to negotiate on the spending bill that would keep the government running until negotiation around immigration took place. In response, Senate Republicans won’t negotiate with Democrats on immigration legislation unless a spending bill is passed and the government is reopened. (Vox.com) Until now, Trump’s idea for a border wall has been put aside, but its construction is still a central tenet of Trump’s policy initiatives.

Since March of 2016, Trump has promised his supporters a wall along the United States-Mexico border. Exactly one year after his inauguration, Trump’s plans for a Mexican-funded border wall have not come true. During recent negotiations over immigration, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said, “in exchange for strong DACA protections, I reluctantly put the border wall on the table for the discussion.” This is the closest Trump has come to getting the wall, but it wouldn’t be paid for by Mexico, but by American taxpayers. Over the past two years, Trump has consistently placed the blame on Mexico for the United States’ illegal drug problem, but Mexico has denied culpability and refused to pay for the wall. Fortunately for those that want to see our neighbor to the south pay for the wall, which is expected to cost near $70 billion, Senator Schumer reported that the trade was unsuccessful, as it “was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal.”

When the government shuts down, there are many modifications that take place. First, all non-essential government employees, as designated by the White House, are asked not to report for work and aren’t paid. This includes active members of the military, who will not be paid during the shutdown and might not be paid retroactively after it is over. During the 2013 government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act, 850,000 government employees stayed home. This primarily affects the National Parks System. During the 2013 shutdown, many national parks were closed to the public, angering many citizens who had plans to visit. Unlike in 2013, the Smithsonian will remain open, as stated in a statement, along with the National Zoo.  

By the time this article is published, the government shutdown will be over. Instead of celebrating a job well done, leaders from both political parties should look for ways to compromise and negotiate, but more importantly, Trump should read his own book: The Art of the Deal.


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