NEW YORK – International – The U.S. government has shut down, again, and the effects are impacting the lives of millions of Americans. As of Friday, January 25, the shutdown had reached day 35 and counting. Until President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress can agree on a solution, many nonessential services will be postponed. That leaves thousands of federal workers without a paycheck. On top of that, food stamps, air travel, low-income housing payments, and other social services have been interrupted.
If you’re watching the political drama unfold from afar, you may have a lot of questions. We’ll try to explain how everything went wrong, and what may come next.
Behind The Shutdown: Causes And Concerns
The government shutdown in the United States has now been in place for over one full month, as Congress and the Trump administration have failed to reach agreements over border defense. While President Trump has demanded funding for the great wall of Mexico, Democrats in Congress have held firm on their position that the $5 billion Trump wants in wall funding is unreasonable (for comparison, Americans fail to pay $458 billion in taxes annually).
The shutdown, which started in 2018, has left over 800,000 federal workers without paychecks until legislation can be passed and signed by the president. While many of these federal workers do continue to show up to work without pay, many aspects of the federal government remain entirely out of operation. Most recently, sickouts at airports have caused disruption to air travel.
Since the first days of the government shut down, federal workers and others have been protesting. The government shutdown not only has left these workers without jobs, but has left many government departments with bare-bones operations that can have far-reaching effects. Additionally, the economy seems to be suffering as a result of the shutdown; with certain services suspended and the future uncertain, the American economy will likely be feeling the effects of this issue for quite some time.
Essential Services Being Affected
As Congress and other areas of the United States government struggle to reach agreements on defense spending and border control, Americans have found themselves in difficult positions and lacking many essentials. Federal employees have now gone one full month without pay, resulting in an economic downturn and financial trouble for hundreds of thousands.
Additionally, those who rely on government assistance for regular financial support have been left without much-needed help. This includes those who regularly make use of government supplements for housing payments; as housing prices climb and more people are unable to afford the average home down payment of $12,829, more and more people rely on government-backed mortgages or rental assistance. If the shutdown continues, this may turn into a housing crisis.
Those in the middle of legal issues may also find themselves in a precarious position as a result of the government shutdown. Federal employees being out of work is leading to a slow-down of many common legal proceedings. Normally, children 12 or older are able to make choices regarding their post-divorce living situations; however, due to limited staffing, this may not be happening in every situation.
Due to the shutdown being largely the result of the ongoing immigration debate, immigrants throughout the country will be impacted by this shutdown regardless of the results. Some states, where the immigrant and second-generation American population can reach 10% of the total state population, may see these effects more than others. This large percentage of the American population is waiting to see what the results of this government shutdown are, and how long the shutdown will last.
What Comes Next?
Unfortunately, the government shutdown is still ongoing, and unless an agreement can be reached between Congress and President Trump, it is likely to continue indefinitely. There are some signs of bipartisan cooperation in the U.S. Senate, but as of Friday, January 25, the impasse remains.
With no end to the shutdown in sight, Americans everywhere should be prepared for limited staffing in government-run agencies, housing and food issues, and more. After one month of limited government operation, Americans are already suffering; it remains to be seen just how long this will continue for.