Looking Back At US Federal Government’s Previous Closures: How The Current 22-Day Shutdown Stands Out

The United States government made history last Friday, although it is actually not something to be proud of as thousands of federal workers are left without pay following the current federal government shutdown. Going for more than 22 days now, the 2018-2019 fed shutdown is the longest in history, eclipsing the previous shutdowns in terms of duration and impact.

To those who are now familiar with how the US government works, a federal shutdown happens when the upper and lower house of the Congress are unable to meet the number of appropriation bills and resolutions that needs to be passed for a fiscal year. The President of the United States opting not to sign the bills filed in Congress can also be the cause of a fed shutdown. The problem in these cases is that the bills are needed to fund certain government functions, so the failure in signing them in Congress will lead to sudden budget impasse. The consequence for the fed workers is they cannot expect their paychecks to arrive anytime soon, not until a political solution is made to resume government operations.

The Reason Behind the Current US Government Closure

U.S. President Donald Trump has been very vocal about his plans to secure the country’s border to the south. He promised that he will build a wall worth $5.7-billion to protect the U.S. from illegal aliens. However, a huge number of Congress people opposes this, citing seclusion and anti-immigrant issues. President Trump gave his ultimatum recently for the Congress to include the border wall in the appropriation bills, but the latter did not waver.

In what can be deemed as an act of retaliation, the POTUS refused to grant the Congress an extension in the deliberation of the remaining appropriation bills for the current fiscal year. The end game? A crippling federal government shutdown.

A Background of the Previous Fed Shutdowns

The last time the federal government of the United States had to cease operations was a little more than a year ago. Interestingly, the shutdown only occurred for roughly five hours, and the reason for this is Senator Rand Paul’s objection to the bipartisan two-year spending bill.

Meanwhile, on January 19 of last year, the failure of the Senate to pass a resolution that would extend the deliberation on spending for another month led to a three-day government shutdown. It appeared that the Republicans failed to gather enough votes from the Democrats to make the resolution for the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The Democrats are concerned about the DACA legislation, as they wanted safeguard for immigrants to be affected by the Trump administration’s proposed policies. To end the shutdown that was caused, the Republicans agreed with the Democrats to pass a continuing resolution that will support DACA for another year.

During the time of former U.S. President Barrack Obama, the debate in the House and Senate regarding Obamacare also led to a federal government shutdown. The House, which was then controlled by the Republicans, submitted a continuing resolution to the Senate that did not include funding for Obamacare, to which the Senate heavily opposed and even reached to a point where the subsidies for Congress people and their staff were removed from the proposed spending in order to put pressure on the lower house.

The takeaway in this issue is that the U.S. federal government shutdown is a very political matter, which means that the fed workers, as well as the ordinary citizens, can do nothing but hope that there is still a viable political solution to this. Aside from government closure, different countries also experience problems rooted from political conflicts. In fact, garbage crisis in other countries can also be attributed to politics.

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