What is a Government Shutdown?

Written by: Devin Burrow, Staff Writer

The government shutdown on January 20 and another looms in the distance. 

In September of 2017, President Donald Trump announced that he would end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program that grants young illegal immigrants work permits and protects them from deportation. At the turn of 2018, Trump announced that he would try to legalize DACA since former President Obama enacted the program without approval from Congress.

Trump is offering to legalize DACA to gain control of the program. Trump tried to use this authority over DACA to leverage democrats to pass a spending bill, but the plan eventually failed as Congress was still unable to fund the government.

Both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee have varying opinions on the cause of the shutdown. Democrats argue that the Republicans were not serious enough about DACA to sway their vote. Republicans say that Democrats shot down the bill because of a comment Trump made earlier that week about immigration.

In total, the government has shut down 19 times. Just five years ago in 2013, former President Barack Obama’s administration saw a shutdown that lasted two weeks.

Military and police still operated and so did the processing centers for disability and social security checks. A major threat is the payment of active duty military personnel, especially those serving overseas. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said this concerning the question of Military payment, “They have to go to work. They will go to work. They will be continuing to guard the country and do the necessary and important work that they’re doing. But they have no guarantee of getting paid. And that’s not right.” In the past, including the shutdown in 2013, Congress has always voted to retroactively pay military employees for their work during the shutdown.

The shutdown lasted two days as Democrats and Republicans came together and reached an agreement. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell announced that Congress would pass a spending bill for the next two and a half weeks. Another part of the deal would be if Trump and the Republicans can’t reach a deal with Democrats about the state of DACA, McConnell himself will propose an immigration bill to congress.

Devin is a Sophomore Communications major with a minor in Worship Arts at Bryan College. His interests include hiking, music and football.