By Emma Kaohi | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
On Jan. 20, the United States federal government shutdown. A major event in political and government history, yet not as dramatic as it may sound.
In fact, some individuals didn’t even realize it happened, while others simply didn’t care.“I don’t really know much, I didn’t really look into it,” said first-year student Thomas Randle.
When a shutdown of the federal government occurs, it is usually caused by a spending bill expiring, leaving Congress and the President to reallocate funding to improve the next fiscal year.
In 1980, the Attorney General at the time, Benjamin Civiletti, wrote that during a government funding gap, the only government activities that could continue on were those that had a “connection between the function performed and the safety of the human life or the protection of property,” or were otherwise “authorized by law.”
Although the recent shutdown only lasted three days, the ongoing dispute over budget and funding regarding immigration policy, military and border security continue to cause a tiff amongst those in Congress.
In the prior months, Democrats and Republicans have feuded back and forth over the funding for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program provides deportation protections to nearly 700,000 of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, according to the Washington Post.
As an attempt to funnel Republicans in Congress into making a decision on the fight for DACA recipients, Democrats used their political leverage by preventing the advancement of the proposed bill.
In order to start debate on a bill, you need 60 votes in agreement whereas in order to pass a bill, you only need 51 votes in agreement. The Republican party currently has 51 senators, however not all are in support of the bill, some are agreeing with Democrats that more must be done for the DACA program, as explained by the Vox online. The total on the procedural motion was 50 to 49.
“DACA is here to help people pursue the American dream, but Democrats aren’t looking at the bigger picture that they’re hurting American people. The speaker of the house should be more involved to help both sides, but Trump is too radical in his decision making. I think eventually Democrats are going to have to step down on what they’re asking for,” said first-year student David Martinez.
“I think for the Democrats, the issue is making sure that there is a certain path forward for addressing DACA,” stated Republican Senator John Thun to reporters. “If that requires it be included in this spending bill, or perhaps an agreement that it be addressed in some other spending bill, or whatever the bill that comes up in the future, I think the main thing is they want certainty.”
Democrats voted to reopen the government after a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to make a push in the immigration debate.
The next deadline is on Feb. 8, and per McConnell’s condition, Democrats can not shut down the government again. It is expected that another short-term bill will be passed as members believe they need at least another month to write a long-term bill.
It is estimated that nearly 850,000 federal employees in fields such as commerce and labor departments, government-funded museums and park departments were forced to stay home without pay, according to CNN online. Locally, Discover Your Forest ski and snowshoe programs scheduled on Mt. Bachelor were unable to be offered the weekend of Jan. 20-21 as park rangers are federal employees. The programs resumed Jan 27. ■