Ongoing US government shutdown becomes longest in history

World

12 Jan 2019

US government shutdown enters day 22, becomes longest in history

The partial US government shutdown that began towards the end of last year has entered its 22nd day, making it the longest-ever US government shutdown in history.

The shutdown, which began as a result of a disagreement between Democrats and Republicans, is nowhere close to coming to an end, as neither party is willing to compromise.

Here are the details.

Origins

Disagreement over Trump's border wall precipitated the shutdown

Disagreement over Trump's border wall precipitated the shutdown

The partial US government shutdown commenced on December 21 following a disagreement between Democrats and Republicans over funding for US President Donald Trump's proposed border wall.

Trump demanded $5.7bn for the US-Mexico border wall, but faced staunch opposition from the Democrats.

The impasse led to the Congress being adjourned without reaching a new funding deal, resulting in a partial government shutdown.

Situation

A quarter of the government has no funds

As it stands, around three-quarters of the government, including vital services and government agencies like the military and the Department of Health and Human Services are fully funded till September 2019.

However, the remaining quarter of the government is facing disruption, and hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been affected by the partial shutdown.

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Essential services

All essential services are continuing, regardless of funding

All essential services are continuing, regardless of funding

Essential services, even those that have not been funded yet, are continuing to function so that there is no disruption when it comes to day-to-day lives of Americans.

However, employees of essential agencies that have not been funded yet, like the departments of Justice, Homeland Security etc., are having to work without pay - they won't get paid till a funding agreement is reached.

Numbers

Over 800,000 federal employees are not getting paid

In terms of numbers, over 420,000 federal employees deemed essential for the functioning of the government are working without pay, including 41,000 law enforcement officers and 150,000 Homeland Security employees.

Meanwhile, more than 380,000 federal employees, including NASA, Commerce department, Housing and Urban development, Internal Revenue Service, and National Park Service employees, have been 'furloughed' or barred from doing work. They aren't getting paid either.

Protests

Protests are erupting across the US

Protests are erupting across the US

On Friday, around 800,000 federal workers received $0 paychecks, and understandably, anger is mounting over the partial shutdown.

A day earlier, on Thursday, hundreds of federal employees gathered in Washington to protest against the ongoing shutdown, chanting slogans like "pay the workers; furlough Trump".

However, President Trump wasn't there as he had left to visit the US-Mexico border wall.

Protests also took place across the US, including places like Chicago and Dallas.

Growing anger

Federal employees are turning to charities and fundraisers for money

As anxiety and stress grows among federal workers over the seemingly never-ending shutdown, union leaders have warned that more protests will take place, not just in Washington, but across the country.

Thousands of federal workers, who are not getting paid, are turning to charities and online fundraisers to feed their families and pay their dues.

Meanwhile, two unions have sued the Trump administration.

Trump

Trump remains adamant; no solution in sight

Trump remains adamant; no solution in sight

Trump, however, remains adamant, and had earlier said that he was "prepared" to let the shutdown drag on for a year if it got him funding for his border wall.

Recently, the President cancelled his visit to Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), blaming the "intransigence" of the Democrats.

As it stands, there is no solution in sight.

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Most asked questions

What are US government shutdowns?

How many shutdowns happened under the Trump administration?

Which was the longest shutdown prior to this?

Will federal employees never get paid for the work they do during shutdowns?

More questions

What are US government shutdowns?

Asked 2019-01-12 12:02:25 by Aaradhya Tata

Answered by NewsBytes

US government shutdowns refer to a situation when the Congress fails to pass or the President refuses to sign legislation approving funding for US federal government services and agencies. In this case, the Congress has failed to reach a funding agreement. During shutdowns, many non-essential services are stopped, and federal employees either work without pay, or are barred from working.

How many shutdowns happened under the Trump administration?

Asked 2019-01-12 12:02:25 by Chirag Malhotra

Answered by NewsBytes

There have been three government shutdowns under the Trump administration - all three happened in 2018-19. The first shutdown took place in January and lasted three days. The second shutdown happened in February, but was resolved. The third shutdown is still ongoing.

Which was the longest shutdown prior to this?

Asked 2019-01-12 12:02:25 by Angel Saxena

Answered by NewsBytes

Prior to the ongoing shutdown, the longest US government shutdown happened during the Clinton era, when the government remained shut for 21 days, from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996.

Will federal employees never get paid for the work they do during shutdowns?

Asked 2019-01-12 12:02:25 by Hemant Verma

Answered by NewsBytes

That is unlikely to be the case. Federal employees are general paid retroactively when the government shutdown ends. However, till such time the shutdown lasts, they will not get paid.

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