The Government Shut Down and You


Clark English, Social Media

For a small portion of January, the Government was officially shut down. A similar situation happened a few years ago but let’s be real, you don’t actually have any idea what’s going on. Long story short the Democrats attempted to force the Republicans to give deportation protection to the DREAMer children. If you don’t know what that means, the Obama administration passed a policy that basically translates to, “illegal immigrants who were brought to America by their parents when they were younger than 16 are ok to stay”.

Trump decided to overturn that policy. Democrats got upset about that and said that they would withhold support from government funding bills. The government gets funded by certain laws that are passed by Congress. Yet Republicans control both chambers of Congress, so how are the Democrats actually stopping it? First, 60 votes are required to end the debate on a bill and start votes, which you only need 51 votes for. It also doesn’t help that three of the Republican senators, including our very own Rand Paul, have been genuinely skeptical of the spending bill making republicans lose their majority even if they could vote on it. Then there’s the whole deal of filibustering even it does somehow pass but then we’re into hypotheticals and that’s a whole other deal.

So what does a government shutdown actually mean? Well for one, it isn’t as big of a deal as it sounds. Anything on state level or lower is still running just like it always did, such as schools and law enforcement. Only the Federal government shutdown. All federal jobs deemed “non essential” were temporarily laid off. That’s about a little less than a million workers. Now whether you’re upset about a million people being laid off or the fact that the government is using your taxes to fund a million “non essential” jobs is irrelevant, point is those are the people who are actually affected by the shutdown. Politicians are still being paid as their pay is decided separately from the spending bill. Quick little side note here is that military personnel are deemed essential but do not receive pay during the shutdown, as they are handled at the federal level much like other executive branch workers (save for the president who is an executive branch/politician hybrid). The military personnel instead receive their pay all at once after the shutdown ends, they are still on the job regardless. So the next time you hear about a government shutdown and start to worry about the roads not being ploughed or something, realise that most of the government you see is handled at the state and district level.