Pulling the Governmental Plug

Kassandra Travis
Staff Writer

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Photo credit: l.hutton/Flickr

On midnight of Jan. 20 the government was forced to shut down due to the failure to pass a continuing resolution for the funding of the federal government. The main cause of this shutdown  was the result of a bitter and unresolved conflict between the Democratic and Republican parties. Although blame has been thrown at both sides, all parties were responsible for the unnecessary shutdown.

Unwavering partisan politics ultimately led to the stalemate between the parties. The government shutdown should not be used as leverage to force a compromise. Congress should put aside partisan politics and focus on the important matter at hand: keeping our government open and active.

Democrats are very adamant about including DACA deportation protection in the continuing resolution, and the Republicans refuse to give up their fight on border security, including the funding of President Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” along the southern border of the United States.

The political agenda has pushed Democrats to fight hard in favor of undocumented immigrants, but Republicans refuse to include any help towards DACA unless their desires for border security are included as well. With both sides stubbornly refusing compromise, the American people are the ones who lose.

The government shutdown not only affects thousands of federal employees, but also limits important services to Americans, such as processing passports, visa applications, and government websites. Nonessential federal workers were sent home on furlough, while others continued to work without pay.

Approximately 850,000 executive-branch employees were sent home on furlough during the last government shutdown. Even members of the military were not receiving pay during this time. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget said, “The military will still go to work; they will not get paid. The border will still be patrolled; they will not get paid. Folks will still be fighting the fires out West; they will not get paid.”

We have an overabundance of federal workers with no work and no pay, yet the White House sat comfortable with no alteration to their job status and paycheck. Representative John Delaney even said, “I don’t think it’s right for me to get paid while my constituents are being furloughed and important services are being limited.”

Although the political agenda is the contributing factor behind the shutdown, with the date of deportation of undocumented immigrants growing closer, our government should not be held hostage to warp priorities. The continuing resolution should be focused on bipartisan politics, not individual, uncompromisable issues.

Each party has taken this resolution and created a political game: give me what I want or face the consequences. Instead of creating a simple continuance from the previous year, Congress is divided along party lines and the partisan war continues. Yet in the end, the citizens of America are the ones to suffer.

Democrats are calling this impasse the “Trump Shutdown,” and Republicans have branded it the “Schumer Shutdown,” yet it should be called the “Congressional Failure.” President Trump’s intentions are conflicting and hard to discern.

Both parties are under pressure to pass legislation that not only they will agree to, but something that Trump will agree to as well. Even Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey states, “You got no guarantees from the House. You got no guarantees from the president. So you have two-thirds of the equation that are just not there.”

Instead of focusing on who should receive the blame, the focus should instead be on a compromise for our federal government funding.

Both parties need to set aside their individual ideas on politics and come together to create a way for our government to stay open and active, and to keep our federal employees at their jobs with pay. The government shutdown should not be used as a threat to force compromise.

Bipartisan politics needs to come back into play in the halls of congress. Our congressional leaders should place our government and the citizens of America above party politics and do the job that they were elected to do.

Categories: Columns, Opinions

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