On Saturday, Jan. 12, America’s government shutdown became the longest in history, and the situation remains unchanged more than a week later.
A refusal to compromise between House Democrats, namely Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and President Donald Trump on allocating $5.7 billion in funds for a border wall with Mexico has kept the government shutdown since Dec. 22, 2018.
House Democrats, who took over the majority Thursday, Jan. 3, during the shutdown have agreed to allocate money toward additional border security, including more border patrol agents and more fencing along the border, but have refused to fund the border wall.
“I doubt that Congress will cave and give the funding for the wall,” Ferris political science professor Christina Eanes said. “However, they all have to face voters on a more direct level than the president and may have a lot of pressure from constituents to get this resolved. I think the president is under pressure by his advisers to get the government moving again or risk losing support, and he’ll ultimately have to concede.”
As the shutdown continues, many have worried how this will impact them during the tax return season. As about 800,000 federal workers have either been sent home or working without pay, the IRS ordered tens of thousands of workers to return to work without pay to ensure that tax returns will be sent out as scheduled.
“Workers aren’t getting insurance benets, they’re not getting paid but they’re still required to work. I can’t imagine being in that position,” Ferris integrative studies junior and Ferris College Democrats member Dylan Peters said. “People have mortgages and have to pay for things, and with this government shutdown and not getting paid, they could face serious consequences. These are people with families, people like you and me with as complex of live as we have, and I don’t think Trump understands that.”
At press time, the shutdown doesn’t appear to be close to an end. Trump has stood strong on his desire to allocate funding for the wall, and Democrats have refused to negotiate the funding, instead saying that Trump should end the government shutdown before they engage in negotiations.
Ferris criminal justice freshman Abrianna Vazquez, a Mexican-American with family in Mexico, says that the plans for the border wall cause her family to feel unwanted in the U.S. and at the same time, she has family working for the government going without pay.
“Going without pay could be the week that a family doesn’t eat, or that family no longer has a home or a car because it got repo’d because you can’t make payments. It’s honestly so sad and it makes [Americans] look like bad people. [Trump] is making bad decisions and it makes us look bad,” Vazquez said. “We don’t provide opportunities to anyone with a wall. My grandpa has a green card to the U.S. and he loves being here, but what is happening with our government and the shutdown and the wall has made him feel like he made a mistake in coming here. My family feels like they aren’t welcome.”