At issue is a $5.6 billion demand from President Donald Trump for a concrete wall, a campaign promise he hyped heavily in 2016. The president has promised to veto any spending bill that does not include money for the wall, but as of yet, congressional representatives have not passed such a bill.
So, on Dec. 22, when Republicans still held majorities in the House, Senate and White House, a significant portion of the federal government’s operations ceased, because there was no money to continue them.
Last week, new representatives elected in November’s midterms were sworn into office, swinging the balance of the House toward Democrats. Many of these newly elected officials themselves campaigned against Trump’s wall, promising it would not be funded.
Negotiations have continued, but members of the president’s staff have said the partial shutdown could drag on for quite some time, and Trump himself said late last week it could last months or even years.
Citizens have seen some impacts from the stalemate. 800,000 federal workers are not receiving paychecks, though about half of them have been deemed essential and are working without pay.
Some national parks and forests have closed, others that remained open are being inundated with waste because there are not enough workers to pick it up. With fewer rangers on the job, those who visit parks are doing so with limited coverage of emergency services should they become injured.
Next month, should the shutdown continue until then, millions of Americans who receive assistance for buying food, including families with children, could stop receiving that vital lifeline.
It’s clear that Congress and the White House need to come to an agreement, and they probably will before the president’s “months or years,” but we’re all wondering what that agreement will be.
We want you to tell us and your representatives what you want to see done to end the shutdown. How should it end? Do you want the regular funding of the government restored? Do you want the full appropriation for the wall? Should there be a compromise in the middle?
Send your correspondence to [email protected]. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length.