At midnight, the government shut down—partially. Why? President Donald Trump essentially threw a massive temper tantrum. He wants more money (originally demanding more than $5 billion) for his disturbing border wall. Thus, after much debate and lack of clarity on what would and wouldn’t please the president via compromise, the House and Senate failed to pass said spending bill.
Despite previously vowing to take the credit for a shutdown, Trump was quick to blame Democrats on Twitter, as usual:
The Democrats now own the shutdown!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
This is actually the third partial government shutdown just this year, because, again, Trump likes the glamour of throwing a fit. It’s important to note that about three-quarters of the federal budget has already been funded through September 2019, which is why some things won’t change.
Here’s the breakdown of what a partial shutdown will look like this time:
Will it affect my travel?
If you’re travelling over the holidays, you should be fine. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents will still work, so there isn’t really an impact on air travel itself. And Amtrak won’t be affected, as it’s privately owned.
What about the post office?
The post office stays open! Interestingly, the post office doesn’t rely on federal funding (it funds itself through sales).
What about people who work for the government?
If you’re considered an ”essential” government employee, you’ll still be working. Who is essential? Some examples include Customs and Border Patrol agents, the Secret Service, and all of the troops currently deployed at the border. They get paid after the shutdown ends, by the way.
Roughly how many government workers would be affected?
Nationwide, around 800,000. This includes both people would basically be sent home from work (without pay), and those who would be asked to stay on and continue working (also without immediate pay).
Will furloughed employees get paid?
It’s up to Congress to decide whether or not furloughed employees get paid for the shutdown period. The Senate passed a bill ensuring federal employees who are furloughed would get back pay just before this shutdown. (Congress has passed legislation for furloughed workers to be paid after all the previous shutdowns, so that’s reassuring).
Will Smithsonian museums and National Parks stay open?
The Smithsonians would stay open through January 1, using leftover funds. National Parks and Monuments would technically be open, but things like visitor centers would be closed. And if you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has explicitly said it’ll stay open, no matter what shutdown occurs.
What aspects of the government will “shutdown”?
Some of the bigger ones include: The U.S. Department of Agriculture will close farm service centers on the state and local level, and the Federal Housing Administration will slow their loan processing and approvals. (New loan applications will likely be stalled). The IRS will be closed, as well as the Small Business Administration office, and the Federal Communications Commission.
Trump is desperate to blame this shutdown on Democrats, but we all know that he’s been hankering for the drama. While this shutdown isn’t as bad as it could be, it still causes unnecessary stress and disruptions into the lives of not only many federal workers, but those who well, expect their government to be fully functional.
It’s also important to remember that the shutdown impacts government contractors, like janitors, who aren’t eligible for the same sort of “back pay” as federal employees. This is because they’re contractors (meaning a business technically pays them, not the government). It goes without saying that this is horrendous no matter what, but can be especially devasting around the holidays. After all, eight out of ten Americans report living paycheck to paycheck.
But given that Trump is seemingly unconcerned with how his decisions impact the American people, he probably hasn’t thought of that.