January 11, 2019
The U.S. Government Shutdown: A Three-Week Recap
Bell at Rose TreeSource: Rose Tree Park Pictures | Penelope Peru Photography P³
Well… here we are. As promised, the 21st day of the partial U.S. government shutdown calls for a three-week recap. The shutdown remains out of sight yet weighs heavy on our minds, with tensions continuing to rise on either side of the isle.
A Bit of Context
If you happened to miss the two-week recap published last week on The Burgundy Zine, the U.S. government has been partially shutdown since Dec. 22, 2018 due to Congress and President Donald Trump’s inability to reach an agreement over the $5.6 billion wall constructed along the border of the United States and Mexico.
This is national security we’re talking about. – President Donald. J. TrumpSource: Trump reiterates demand for $5 billion in wall funding | Washington Post
This partial shutdown has impacted 9 out of fifteen executive departments of government including:
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- United States Department of Commerce (USDC)
- United States Department of Homeland Security (USDHS)
- United States Department of Housing and Urband Development (HUD)
- United States Department of Interior (USDOI)
- United States Department of Justice (USDOJ)
- United States Department of State (USDOS)
- United States Department of Transportation (USDOT)
- United States Department of Treasury (USDT)
Head on over to The U.S. Government Shutdown: A Two-Week Recap for even more context on the shutdown.Souce: The Burgundy Zine
The Impact of Restricting Government Funds
In total, the shutdown has left about 800,000 federal employees furloughed or with no choice other than to work without pay, which is against the law.
According to CBS News, some federal employees have taken to GoFundMe, a fundraising platform online, in order to supply their families with food, water, diapers, as well as other essentials throughout the financial stress of the shutdown. There are currently 1,714 campaigns related to the government shutdown on GoFundMe.
1714 results found for government shutdown on GoFundMeSource: GoFundMe on Jan. 11, 2019 5:33 AM
This lack of funding has left National Parks with a fecal crisis on their hands, according to an article published by VICE. The parks are grasping at straws, relying on their entrance fees in order to keep operations running.
Furthermore, NBC News reported low-income senior citizens having their funds from the HUD department frozen. According to LeadingAge, over 1,000 contracts with HUD were unable to renew in December and January. More than 200 of these contracts provided rental assistance for senior living facilities.
The shutdown has also hit the aisles of our grocery stores, with a lack of means forcing the FDA to limit their routine food inspections.
Although the FDA oversees 80% of our nation’s food supply, Vox points out that high-risk manufacturers, such as the producers of baby food, raw produce, and seafood, are still under regular inspection. The USDA has also continued routine inspection of meat, poultry, and eggs.
However, the inspectors with the USDA are currently working without pay. This department, impacted by the shutdown, is also responsible for the food stamp program known as SNAP. The Agriculture Director Sonny Perdue has Tweeted that President Trump ordered funding of the SNAP program through February.
At the direction of @POTUS, we’ve announced a plan to fully fund SNAP benefits for February, despite Congress’ inability to send the President an appropriations bill that secures our borders. We’re doing right and feeding everyone.Sec. Sonny Perdue (@SecretarySonny) January 9, 2019
More details on the SNAP program continuing through February are available on the USDA website.
The House of Representatives passed a bill to reopen the USDA with a vote of 243-183, according to CNN. However, it is unlikely to pass in the Senate, as the bill faces a potential veto from the president.
The Internal Revenue Service has also promised to make good on distributing tax returns whether the shutdown continues into tax season or not, according to Bloomberg.
Is an End to the Shutdown Anywhere in Sight?
Short answer? No.
After meeting with Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday, President Trump took to Twitter over their inability to come to an agreement.
Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
Pelosi responded on Thursday stating that she believes the meeting was a ‘setup’.
Not only was the president unpresidential, surprise surprise, yesterday. I think the meeting was a setup so he could walk out, but I’ll say just that.Source: Pelosi: Trump’s meeting ‘was a setup’ | CNN
Although the House of Representatives passed a series of bills to reopen the government and fund the affected departments on Wednesday with a vote of 240-188, according to CNN, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already made it clear that he refuses to move forward with any legislation that will not receive the 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
On Thursday, President Trump stated he has the ‘absolute right to declare a national emergency.’
I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency… I’m not prepared to do that yet, but if I have to I will.Source: Trump claims right to declare emergency | CNN
Although the New York Times reported there is a lack of evidence supporting an actual emergency at our southern border, the Brennan Center for Justice explains that both Congress and the President of the United States retain the right to declare a national emergency whenever they see fit. Congress also has the power to put an end to a state of emergency, if they are able to reach a resolution and receive a signature from the president.
Declaring a national emergency MIGHT enable Trump to build his wall. Emphasis on might.
Under 10 U.S. Code § 2808, a state of emergency allows “military construction projects not otherwise authorized by law.”
Additionally, 33 U.S. Code § 2293 allows the president to take troops as well as other resources from Department of Army civil works projects in order to apply them to “authorized civil works, military construction and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense.”
Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed President Trump’s indecision to declare a national emergency, according to CNN.
“Look, the President has made no decision,” Pence said. “Our conviction is that Congress should do their job.”
On that note, be sure to tune in on Tuesday, Jan. 22 for a one-month recap of the government shutdown.
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