Partial government shutdown becomes longest in U.S. history

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The partial U.S. government shutdown, which began Dec. 22, was the longest in the nation’s history. The federal offices affected were reopened Jan. 25 when President Donald J. Trump signed a continuing resolution that reopens agencies through Feb. 15.

Stretching more than five weeks, the shutdown began after the Republican and Democratic parties failed to pass important spending bills and reach a deal over government funding for a border wall along the southern border of the United States.

The bills passed accounted for three quarters of the discretionary budget. The shutdown impacted the remaining quarter of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending, including parts of the Internal Revenue Service, the National Parks Service, Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security and the Department of the Treasury, among others.

The result of this shutdown, however, was not complete closure of these agencies but rather a reduced number of workers. This means 800,000 employees were temporarily furloughed, meaning they accrued pay but will not receive their checks until that section of the budget passes.

Medicaid, Social Security, military pay and operations and veteran services were among the mandatory programs unaffected by the shutdown.

Students at California Baptist University may have felt the effects of this shutdown in a variety of ways, including extended waits in airports because of reduced staff, and an absence of income if the main provider of their family works for a government agency, as well as limited access to national parks.

Students concerned about delays in tax returns do not need to worry. The IRS announced that 57.4 percent of their furloughed workers would return to work Jan. 28 to start processing tax refunds immediately.

“This shutdown has a ripple effect on our economy. Some agencies that are still running happened to have money on reserve, but if that money runs out before the shutdown is fixed then we’re facing a bigger problem,” said Dr. Chris McHorney, professor of political science and chair of the Department of History and Government. “The solution of this lies in the hands of Congress. We need to put pressure on Congress and the White House to do their basic responsibility, which is to sort out our budget.”

McHorney said the American people should hold high standards for their government as they do for themselves.

“If this was our own household, there would be major  problems we have to fix,” McHorney said. “We should have the same standards for our government; they should be able to find a way to keep the government open.”

Jordan Fuller, senior history major urges students to listen to both sides of the border wall debate before taking a side.

“Students need to understand that the Democratic and the Republican sides should not be clouded by what they see on social media,” Fuller said. “If they have an opinion, they should research that before making blatant claims about anything on either side.”

Mary Rutherford, junior early childhood studies major, stressed the importance of having a united nation, instead of one divided by politics.

“I hope students are learning from this government shutdown that a divided nation between Democrats and Republicans will get our nation nowhere,” Rutherford said. “One crucial thing students should learn from this is the importance of voting for people who will do the right thing, not for their own political agenda.”

Students who would like to be more vocal regarding the shutdown can reach out to their senators and representatives.

Students who wish to find their state’s representative or senator, can visit house.gov or senate.gov.

About Misty Severi

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