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Government Shutdown Leaves Hundreds of Thousands Without Pay

As of December 21st 2018, the United States government has been on a partial shutdown. It is set to become the longest in US History. What is a government shutdown and how does it affect us? A government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass continuing resolutions to fund federal operations. The late 2018- early 2019 shutdown is due to failure to come to an agreement by President Trump and members of Congress on providing funding for part of the government, particularly regarding border security.

The repercussions of the government shutdown has implications on services that many Americans depend on. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been furloughed during the shutdown and another 420,000 workers will not be paid until the shutdown is lifted.

The Trump Administration has made ambitious affirmations regarding the upcoming federal tax returns. They intend to keep business running as usual, however, House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (D), claims the Trump administration does not have the legal authority to distribute tax refunds. Historically, federal tax refunds do not fall under the necessary criteria to be considered “essential”, but the IRS have stuck to this claim and are scheduled to start filing returns on the 28th of January.

SNAP benefits that assist 44.4 million Americans will eventually curtail if the shutdown lasts beyond February. The WIC program, designed to assist low income pregnant women, young children, and new mothers, only has enough funding to last through January.

According to the agency’s administrator, the FDA has had to postpone over 900 inspections including fruits, meats, vegetables and nearly 50% of their workers are off the job. Some FDA employees are concerned for the health of the public due to the lack of resources available.

Federal workers have rallied against the widespread furloughs and the Trump Administration were sued by a couple labor unions for work without compensation. Many political experts believe we are at an impasse, but there is still hope for an agreement from the White House before federal funding runs out.

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