Partial Government Shutdown Sparks Uncertainty

As President Donald Trump’s government shutdown remains in effect, all Americans are uncertain about the future of the country. The shutdown remains the longest in the history of the U.S. at 34 days as of January 24th, and is the result of Trump attempting to add funding for a border wall into the new budget for the fiscal year. House Democrats are not in favor of Trump’s proposed wall, and the disagreement between the President and the House eventually led to a partial government shutdown where federal employees can no longer be paid because of a lack of a federal budget. With 800,000 non-essential federal employees without immediate pay, many are concerned about the lasting effects of such a long shutdown. While some Americans believe that the wall provides much needed border security, others believe that immigration should be increased rather than decreased. Regardless of political alignment, many are uncertain about the future of the country and the aftermath of the shutdown.
Alongside federal employees, many government buildings such as certain museums were closed as a result of the shutdown.
“I expected D.C. to be gross because the workers are not picking up trash and that sort of thing,” said junior Phoebe Lariccia, a student in the Civil Rights in Cinema Jan Term class who recently traveled to Washington, D.C. “I was annoyed at the fact that the places we wanted to see, like the National Museum of African American History and Culture, were closed and I wish that could be different.”
Despite the possible negative effects of a partial shutdown, many were unsurprised by the use of a shutdown as a political tactic.
“I wasn’t surprised at all,” said Young Democrats leader Payton Selby. “This is one of many of the shutdowns that has happened under the Trump administration, so it wasn’t entirely a surprise, but I think the longevity of the shutdown has certainly been a surprise for a lot of people.”
Part of what leads to the predictability of the shutdown is the perception that Trump is shutting down the government in order to fulfill a campaign promise: to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“There was no doubt about conflict being involved if such a wall was to be proposed,” said freshman Michael Tye. “President Trump is doing what not many politicians do which is fulfilling his campaign promises, no matter how much he is ridiculed or if people like it or not.”
However, many are unsure of the necessity of such a promise, and if it will solve the problems mentioned by Trump in his 2016 campaign.
“For Trump’s goals, the shutdown is definitely not necessary,” said Selby. “I don’t believe it will end in a wall at all, I think from Trump’s standpoint it is probably not going to work. Most other presidents tended to act with what they believed was best for the American people, and I really think that Trump’s shutdown is more like a final plea.”
On the other hand, some think that Trump’s reaction was justified. “I thought the shutdown was appropriate as the wall has become a pressing issue and shutdowns happen sometimes in government,” said Tye. “Personally, I like that President Trump is fighting for an issue that I think needs a solution in the form of better border security.”
Instead of producing a compromise or any new legislation during the shutdown, both Democrats and Republicans remain unable to compromise over Trump’s proposal.
“Recently, both sides have wanted to stand their ground and not give up an inch,” said Young Conservatives leader Will Wallace. “I actually think that Trump offered a fair, reasonable compromise in an effort to reopen the government, but the Democrats swiftly shut it down. For a party that demands the shutdown end so workers may receive their pay, well I just thought their reaction was strange.”
On the other hand, many Democrats believe that the severe length of the shutdown is solely due to Trump’s inability to effectively negotiate with House Democrats.
“What’s led to the length of the shutdown is Donald Trump’s inability to come to a compromise and he just wants his way and will do anything to get that,” said Lariccia. “It does not lie in the hands of the other politicians, it’s all in Trump’s hands.”
Additionally, some remain skeptical about Trump’s true intentions, especially leading up to the upcoming presidential election.
“Trump is really using it as a kind of a final plea to gather his base and energize the people around him for 2020,” said Selby. “Other presidents really genuinely believed that their plan was necessary for America and what would be best.”
Regardless of political orientation, people from all political allegiances hope for non-essential employees to receive pay.
“The rhetoric between Trump and Pelosi is silly,” said Wallace. “What is not funny, however, is that government workers have not received pay in a long time. Workers that live paycheck-to-paycheck rely on periodic payments to survive and feed their families and I cannot imagine the hardships that this must cause.”
Hopefully, these employees will receive pay as soon as possible so that they will be able to provide for themselves and their families.
“Government workers that want to be paid are missing their paychecks,” said Lariccia. “They are missing their payments for things like their houses and their cars and because of that basically everyone is suffering.”
Despite the growing strides made in government such as better representation in Congress, the future of the political parties and the country as a whole remains uncertain.
“Conservatives may be warrier as a consecutive long shutdown paints their party negatively and reduces credibility,” said Tye. “Depending on whether President Trump is successful, the implications for a shutdown could change from it being a necessary evil if he succeeds, to a grueling process with no fruit if he loses.”

Editor’s Note: President Trump has recently approved a temporary budget that will reopen the government of three weeks while border security is being debated.