Thursday, September 20th, 2018

A short-lived government shutdown halts progress

Orkhan Nadirli

Posted on January 28, 2018 in News, Uncategorized
By USM Free Press

Maverick Lynes, Staff Writer

The streets of Washington D.C. were quiet the morning of Saturday, Jan. 20 as the U.S. government entered it’s first shutdown in five years. This shutdown was minuscule lasting only three days, from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, compared to the most recent government shutdown, which lasted for 17 days in Oct. of 2013

The shutdown stemmed from the Senate not being able to get the majority vote in on passing a budget regarding various legislations before the midnight deadline on Jan. 19. Congress also could not figure out a compromise towards the issues on the table in time and therefore missed the deadline to pass the legislation.  

Among the various bills that could not be agreed upon before the deadline, was the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. DACA is the program that protects undocumented immigrants that were brought to America as children. The Democrats are adamant on keeping DACA in place, while the Trump administration wants to end the program. If Trump were to have his immigration plan passed the way it is currently written, the DACA program will be abolished in February of 2018.

Essentially, a government shutdown is when congress does not agree upon a federal budget for the upcoming year. This affects all nonessential functions of the U.S. government until a budget can be approved. Some nonessential departments are education, environment protection agencies, health and human services and various other federal agencies. There are federal programs that are deemed essential that continue to run despite a government shutdown. Some essential departments are law enforcement, military and border patrols.

On Jan. 22, the Senate approved of a compromise that will expire at midnight on Feb. 8. The bill was signed by Trump and passed through the House of Representatives. Both Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement for the compromise. In order to get the Democrats’ votes, the Republicans agreed to be more open to conversation regarding DACA.

A disagreement came when it was proposed that more funding should be put towards the Mexico-U.S. border wall, a focal point in Trump’s presidential campaign.

The shutdown came when the Senate was unable to overturn the filibuster held by the Democrats. Then the shutdown ended because the Democrats agreed to put an end to the filibuster.

A common misconception may be that when the government shuts down, that means all federal duties are on hold. Although, that is not true. Only the operations that are deemed nonessential are shutdown. Jobs that are considered essential continue to operate.

On Twitter, Trump stated that a government shutdown would be “devastating for our military,” Even though the military is considered an essential operation. However, there is a bill from the 2013 shutdown that would have to be re-approved in order for military personnel to continue to receive their paychecks.

For the U.S government and its people, this shutdown did not last long. If it had continued longer than two weeks it could have had a very serious impact on the economic growth of the country.

The government shutdown in 2013, under the Obama administration, had a significant impact on the economy. During this time it was reported from the Obama Administration that the U.S. economic growth slowed by 0.6 percent. It also caused 120,000 jobs to be lost. A total of 850,000 federal employees were furloughed each day, which means they do not go into work and are docked pay.

While some may question the necessity of the shutdown, Trump is considering the short lived shutdown a win for the Republicans. The President is  insisting that the Democrats caved and lost on their gamble of not wavering on the effects of DACA.

On the other hand, there are many immigrants right’s activists who are disappointed with the short shutdown. Activists are saying that the Democrats gave in and did not fight hard enough for DACA.

With there being so few federal institutions and employees in the Maine area, it is likely that a majority of Maine residents did not even notice the government shutdown.

USM was ensured via email from Bob Stein, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Marketing, that despite the possibility of a government shutdown, the university will be operating regardless.

John Waghorn, a senior finance major at USM said that he didn’t notice the shutdown. He added that he believes the shutdown was unnecessary, saying, “I believe they should be more focused on what is better for the people, not what is better for their specific party.”

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