One of 8,000

Repercussions of the Government Shutdown

On December 22, almost 800,000 federally employed workers, many of whom had to support their families, learned that they would have to go without a paycheck for an indefinite period of time. 

This is the longest government shutdown in US History since 1996, lasting 35 days. A government shutdown happens when nonessential government offices close due to congress failing to approve the federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Though it is only a partial shutdown there are major repercussions. Airport security screeners could quit, federal courts can stop hearing civil cases, city busses can stop running, and a lack of money for food stamps will leave 38 million Americans struggling and hungry.

“Shutdowns don’t get bad linearly; they get bad exponentially” Sam Berger, the Senior Adviser at the Center for American Progress said in an interview with Bloomberg last month. 

The shutdown began late last year because President Donald Trump and the Democrats of the House failed to come to an agreement about the border wall. President Trump requested the addition of $5.7 billion to the new federal spending legislation. The legislation needed to be passed before December 12, when the previous one expired, but the democrats of the house loudly opposed the demand. The shutdown went into effect the next day due to neither side agreeing to give in. 

After 35 days, on January 25 President Trump signed a bill to temporarily reopen the government until February 15. This will result in the government paying the approximate 800,000 workers who have been continuing their occupations without pay. The bill states that the money will not come from the funds for the wall and follows nearly the same plan that President Trump was initially against. 

The shutdown doesn’t only affect government workers, It can affect students as well.
Junior David Stuart whose father works for the FBI, says that while his mother did most of the work managing the family’s finances during the shutdown, he still had to cope directly with one part of the shutdown that frustrated him the most: 

“Knowing that… [not getting payed] upsets him… and that he still has to go to work and not get paid,” Stuart said.

Another effect Stuart experienced was on his personal finances: 

“I eat out a lot less often when the government is shutdown,” Stuart said. 

Stuart believes that trying to avoid these shutdowns is best. 

“[Preventing shutdowns is] just one more thing they [the government] could do a better job at,” Stuart said. 

He does wish that lawmakers would focus on the budget instead of playing a game of passing bills before emphasizing the budget.  

“There are lots of people not getting paychecks because the government is shutdown,” Stuart said. 

Stuart says that his family is lucky relative to what other families have experienced. 

“It was only one worth of paycheck, so it wasn’t too terribly bad,” Stuart said. 

In fact, when asked if he thought that other families were affected more, he responded with one word: “Absolutely”.

However, Stuart also says that the shutdown ended just in time for his family.

“Anything past a month would be pretty rough,” Stuart said

The Stuarts may have been able to get through the shutdown relatively smoothly, but many others weren’t so lucky.