Federal government shutdown

On the evening of Jan. 20, the federal government shut down as a result of officials failing to pass the required budget to keep the government running. The dispute grew from fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats on the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and whether recipients should be deported.

Additionally Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill proposed a bill to ensure military pay and death benefits continue while the government is shutdown, however Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the measure, wanting to “restore funding for the entire government before this becomes necessary,” resulting in the failure of the bill.

Hours prior to the shutdown President Trump cancelled his trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort to plan a course of action to pass a budget, Tweeting, “If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (nuclear option) and vote on real, long term budget, no [continuing resolutions]!”

The vote resulted in a deadlock, with 45 Republicans and five Democrats voting for the budget to be passed and five Republicans, 42 Democrats and two Independents voting against it.

During the shutdown, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders came under scrutiny after demonstrating support for the shutdown, calling it the morally “right thing to do” for DACA recipients, which mainstream media outlets contrasted to Sanders remarks in 2013 when he criticized the Republican-led shutdown. Sanders went on congressional record in 2013, saying the shutdown was going to “punish millions of federal employees and tens of millions of taxpayers who paid for federal services. And for the first time in the history of the United States of America, we are not going to pay our bills and perhaps thrust the American financial system and the world’s financial system into a horrendous recession. What the American people are saying over and over again, regardless of political persuasion, is, yes, we can disagree on issues; no, you cannot bring the U.S. Government to a halt and default on our payments because you disagree on certain legislation.” The senator claimed he did not remember ever making the statements.

The government shutdown has resulted in the temporary closure of nearly 400 cultural and historical sites across the country, the closure of non-essential agencies to the functioning of the government, and government employees not receiving pay including low ranking officials and soldiers.

Certain agencies were allowed to stay open by using funding received from outside sources and revenue that the organizations themselves make, such as The United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and Department of State. Similarly, the local Washington D.C government remained operational during the shutdown due to a provisions act which was passed during the last shutdown in the occasion of a similar event.

As of Jan. 22, the government has re-opened on a temporary basis until Feb. 8, where a decision will have to be made by lawmakers on the future of DACA and the federal budget.