On Jan. 25, President Trump and Congressional leaders were able to reach a deal which would reopen the government temporarily, ending the shutdown. The shutdown started on Dec. 22, 2018, when a new budget had not been approved by Trump because it did not include a budget for the border wall which would cost over $5 billion.
On Jan. 8, President Trump threatened to declare a national emergency as a way to get the funding for the wall. The construction of the wall would be 234 miles along the border between the United States and Mexico as a security measure.
Democrats believe that money could be spent in better ways in regard to national security. Rather than going towards the wall, they suggest measures such as screenings and hiring more agents.
A government shutdown occurs when a budget cannot be agreed on, so the lack of funding causes the non-critical parts of the government to partially or fully close including museums, like the Smithsonian, national parks and environmental and food inspection agencies.
As of Jan. 12, this became the longest shutdown in United State’s history and lasted for a total of 35 days. The previous longest was 22 days starting in December 1995 under President Bill Clinton. This is the second major shut down under President Trump. The first occurred for three days in January 2018 when there was discussion over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act.
There were 380,000 non-critical employees from nine of the 15 major agencies that were not working during this time, and 420,000 employees were still going to work without any pay.
On Jan. 11, however, Congress passed a bill to reimburse federal employees for lost wages, but this bill did not include anything for contract workers. It is estimated based on data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that the partial shutdown would cost $86 million a day.
With the closure, there was a risk that March food stamps could be cut as well as other delays when companies were not able to verify a worker’s immigration status and rental assistance for the elderly and disabled.
Some essential programs and services were not stopped during the partial shutdown. The US Postal service continued running during the shutdown because they receive their funding independently.
Also, food stamps were continued throughout the shutdown, even though they could have run out of funding. Another example is border control which continued throughout the shutdown even though they will have to receive back pay.
The shutdown has cost the government greatly in the month it was closed. While the full figures may not be seen for a while, the Congressional Budget Office said it reduced gross domestic product by $11 billion in just the first two weeks. Additionally, the national parks suffered the loss of destroyed natural resources that could take 300 years to replace and $400,000 a day in fees.
Despite there being an agreement reached, it is only temporary. The government now has until Feb. 15 to approve another budget that includes border security, or it will close once again. However, this time, employees would still be able to receive full back pay. This would increase the costs already caused by the government shutdown that just ended.