As of today, the U. S. federal government has now been shut down for over 35 days, surpassing all previous records. Often, past presidents have used shutdowns to force agendas, such as President Obama’s 2013, 16-day government shutdown to convince Congress to fund Obamacare.
In this shutdown, there are essentially two sides from a government perspective. One side, led by President Trump, argues for $5.7 billion for a border wall. This side holds the power since as president, Trump can effectively shut down the government to get his way. On the other side, House Democrats and supporters hold out against funding this wall.
However, it is also important to consider how American citizens feel as well. According to CNBC News, 66 percent of Americans blame President Trump for the shutdown and feel that he should reopen the government with or without border funding. 71 percent of Americans surveyed also feel that the border wall is not worth the chaos this has caused. In addition to regular citizens, none of the Congress members who represent land along the Texas-Mexico border support the addition of a wall, according to the New York Times.
We argue that the government should reopen, primarily because of the amount of ordinary Americans this crisis effects. Many reports, including one by NPR, estimate a minimum of about 800,000 federal workers that have not been receiving pay for their work this last month.
It’s easy to sit back and watch the federal news until we are affected by it personally. This feeling has hit many hard-working American citizens this past month, whether Coast Guard employees, Congressional employees or TSA workers in airports.
As college students, we understand the difficulties that come with managing multiple responsibilities, from school to internships and other jobs. But federal employees are having to work multiple jobs this past month in order to not be evicted from their homes and feed their families. Despite the lack of pay, most federal workers are still required to go to their federal jobs in order to maintain employment. At this point, their work is voluntary.
Our government was created to be by the people, for the people. It seems ironic that in this time of shutdown, the worst happens to the innocent people who need the government to support them.
President Trump should reopen the government to pay federal workers, as well as ensure that American citizens are receiving the treatment and benefits they deserve.