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The U.S. Government Shutdown: A One-Month Recap

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By: burgundy bug

Wooden American Flag

Source: Wooden Flag & Tractor | Penelope Peru Photography P³

One month down, how many more to go? Here is everything you need to know about the first month of the longest United States government shutdown in history.

A Bit of Context

In case you missed the three-week recap published on The Burgundy Zine a little over a week ago, the U.S. government has been operating under partial shutdown since Dec. 22, 2018 due to Congress and President Donald Trump’s inability to reach an agreement over the $5.6 billion dollar wall constructed along the border of the United States and Mexico.

This is national security we’re talking about. – President Donald. J. Trump

Source: Trump reiterates demand for $5 billion in wall funding | Washington Post

Although President Trump is relentless in his pursuit of the wall, claiming he is fighting for Americans, a border wall isn’t what We the People want.

According to a Pew Research Center poll released last week, 58% of Americans oppose building a wall along the border of the United States and Mexico. A recent Quinnipiac Poll had similar results, with 52% of Americans saying a wall is against our nation’s values.

Americans aren’t too happy with the partial government shutdown, either. A survey conducted by PBS NewsHour found the shutdown generally yielded an even more negative view of President Trump.

The partial shutdown has impacted 9 out of fifteen executive departments of government including:

  1. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  2. United States Department of Commerce (USDC)
  3. United States Department of Homeland Security (USDHS)
  4. United States Department of Housing and Urband Development (HUD)
  5. United States Department of Interior (USDOI)
  6. United States Department of Justice (USDOJ)
  7. United States Department of State (USDOS)
  8. United States Department of Transportation (USDOT)
  9. United States Department of Treasury (USDT)

This has left a rough total of 800,000 federal employees furloughed or with no choice other than to work without pay, which is against the law.

According to CNN, federal employees are allowed to pick up another job in the meantime, however there are certain restrictions that apply. They must also expect to be called back to work on very short notice. Additionally, federal employees are allowed to apply for unemployment insurance, apply for assistance from banks and credit unions, quit, or retire.

PayPal recently stated they plan on offering up to $25 million interest-free cash advances of $500 to federal employees that have been furloughed.

These budget restrictions aren’t just impacting federal employees. 1.9 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives rely on the DOI. This partial shutdown costs one tribe in Michigan alone $100,000 every day that it continues, according to The New York Times.

It is worth noting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the US Postal Service, the military, as well as other programs that have been deemed “essential” continue to operate in spite of the shutdown, according to Vox.

The FDA has also stated they will continue screening imported food as well as medical products.

Head on over to The U.S. Government Shutdown: A Three-Week Recap for even more context on the shutdown.

Souce: The Burgundy Zine

So… Has Any Progress Been Made Since Week Three?


A few days after President Trump announced he had the right to declare a national emergency, he recalled his bluff.

I’m not looking to call a national emergency.

Source: Trump: ‘I’m not looking to call a national emergency’ | Washington Post

“I have the absolute legal right to call it,” President Trump stated. “I’m not looking to do that because this is too simple.”

Despite Democrats in the House of Representatives passing a bill to reopen the IRS and other financial services on Jan. 9 according to CNN, the president continued to blame the opposing party for the shutdown throughout the rest of his statement.

On Jan. 14, President Trump discussed the wall during his speech at the Farm Bureau Convention.

I will never, ever back down.

Source: President Trump speaks at American Farm Bureau convention | Global News

“When it comes to keeping the American people safe,” President Trump started. “I will never, ever back down.”

His speech didn’t discuss a clear plan, rather, he continued to insist the wall is something our nation desperately needs and that he is “making progress”.

“We’re fighting very hard for you,” President Trump claimed.

On Jan. 14, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport felt the impact TSA workers calling out due to the shutdown. According to CNN, some individuals had to wait in line for almost an hour and a half.

Lines at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Source: Omar Jimenez on Twitter

In a conference call with supporters on Jan. 15, President Trump showed no signs of compromising, according to NBC News.

“We’re going to stay out for a long time, if we have to,” President Trump said.

World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization notorious for providing hot meals to those who have been struck by disaster, opened a café in Washington D.C. to serve free meals to federal employees who have been impacted by the shutdown on Jan. 16.

On Jan. 16, the House of Representatives also passed a $12 billion disaster relief bill that would reopen the government until Feb. 8 with a vote of 237-187, according to CNN.

However, the bill does not include funding for the border wall, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had already made it quite clear earlier in the month the Senate would not humor anything that wouldn’t receive a presidential seal of approval.

The Senate will not take up any proposal that does not have a real chance of passing this chamber and getting a presidential signature. Let’s not waste the time.

Source: Mitch McConnell: Let’s Not Waste Time Getting Off On The Wrong foot 1/3/19 | LIVE ON-AIR NEWS

Within the same day the bill was passed, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Trump asking him to postpone the State of the Union address unless the government re-opens.

Sadly, given the security concerns and unless the government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after the government has re-opened for this address.

Source: Nancy Pelosi asks Trump to postpone his State of the Union address due to shutdown | CNN

President Trump responded to Pelosi by letter on Jan. 17, postponing her trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan until after the government has resumed full functioning.

“I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” President Trump wrote. “I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown.”

President Trump concluded the letter by stating he looks forward to meeting with Pelosi soon to continue pursuing issues related to our southern border. Not before throwing in an additional jab, of course.

“If you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.” President Trump teased in his letter.

On Jan. 17, Pelosi discussed the State of the Union address in a private meeting with Democrats, according to CNN.

“Maybe the president is comfortable not paying his employees for their work,” Pelosi said. “But Democrats aren’t.”

The following day, Acting Director of the Office of Budget and Management, Russ Vought, released a statement that denies the use of any government owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircrafts without written approval of the White House Chief of Staff.

Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft support any Congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff.


On Saturday, Jan. 19 President Trump broadcasted a proposal to Democrats.

We believe in a safe and lawful system of immigration, one that upholds our laws, our traditions and our most cherished values.

Source: President Trump makes special announcement on the humanitarian crisis at the southern border | USA Today

In his “common-sense compromise”, President Trump proposed the following:

  • Three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients, access to work permits, social security numbers, as well as protection from deportation.
  • Extending the Temporary Protected Status by another three years for immigrants who’s protections are expiring.
  • $800 million in humanitarian assistance.
  • $805 million for drug detection technology.
  • 2,750 border agents and law enforcement professionals.
  • 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the backlog of court cases.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) refused the president’s proposal on Saturday as he believes it will not pass in the Senate.

I am ready to sit down at any time after the government is opened and work to resolve all outstanding issues.

Source: Sen. Dick Durbin on Twitter

Pelosi also refused this proposal in a statement released on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives,” Pelosi wrote. “Each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”

Our split government has left us in a grid-lock with both sides of the aisle unable to reach a compromise. At this pace, you can expect a six-week recap of the government shutdown here on The Burgundy Zine come Feb. 8.

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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