A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Government shutdown has impact on PHS

What is a government shutdown and why does it happen some of you may ask. Why should we as high school students care about this, if we’re under 18 and don’t work for the government? How could this possibly affect us? All these question are interesting and believe it or not common amongst a lot of teenagers.

According to Investopedia, a government shutdown is “the closure of nonessential offices of the government due to lack of approval on the federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year.” If Congress passes all of the spending bills regarding the federal budget, then an approval is reached. When Congress can’t pass some kind of appropriations bill before a spending deadline, the government shuts down, and many “nonessential” government activities suddenly cease.

On January 20, 2018 at midnight, the federal government shutdown for almost three days. The Senate couldn’t get the 60 votes it needed to extend spending until February 16, 2018. Not enough Democrats were convinced by majority of Republican party.

Democrats wanted the bill to protect immigrants eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

In the past the government shutdown has affected many families. This time around, its effects have leaked into the walls of Parkdale.

“My mom was affected again this year”, said senior Obinna Ezejiofor. Ezejiofor’s mom works as a neurology nurse in NIH and Doctors Community Hospital funded by the government.  She was also in this position during the Obama Administration’s shutdown in 2013.

It’s not unusual for Congress to go to the brink of shutdown; it happened as recently as this past fall, when President Trump threatened a shutdown in a bid to get funding for a border wall.

According to The Balance, an online news source, “if Congress doesn’t develop a permanent fix, Trump’s immigration plan will end the [DACA] in February.”  Even some Republicans voted against the bill. They wanted to focus on passing the permanent budget instead another continuing resolution,”

On January 22, the Senate approved a continuing resolution that expires at midnight on February 8. The Senate bill was then approved by the House and signed by President Trump. To get the Democrats’ votes, Republicans agreed to work with them on DACA legislation.

Many people who work for the government were out of a job or wouldn’t receive their pay.

“My mom was affected and upset because she still had to work but wouldn’t receive pay,” said Ezejiofor .

On February 8, some families might still be out of their jobs permanently. The government has officially shut down eighteen times since the modern process that Congress uses to pass budget and spending bills took effect in 1976. The first six of those didn’t actually affect the functioning of government at all.

It wasn’t until a set of opinions issued by Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti in 1980 and ’81 that the government started to treat “spending gaps” — periods when Congress has failed to allocate funds for the ongoing functions of government — as necessitating the full or partial shutdown of government agencies.

This government scandal has gotten its way into the Parkdale family and could possibly leave its stain permanently.