Written by Noah M. Abbot |
Every time a shutdown occurs, it’s because the government is incapable or unwilling to shake hands and agree on a deal. President Trump, a self-proclaimed negotiator, has refused to make a deal with the Congress over the 2019 budget if it does not acclimate at least $5.7 billion to build a wall along the United States southern border with Mexico.
Over the past week, he has also refused to provide funding for the members of the legislative branch to go on a congressional delegation. On Thursday, January 17th, he publicly criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Congress and grounded their flight to Afghanistan, disrupting congressional functions in an effort to push them into agreeing to his terms.
The president also holds the power to declare a national emergency and use defence funding to build his wall. However, Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers feel confident that they can block the move with lawsuits. Calling a national emergency is presidential power but it is still subject to the same constitutional standards and may therefore be blocked with court cases.
This chess match is nothing except hurtful to America.
The harm to the citizens of the U.S. is increasing with every unpaid workday. Rent is not put on hold, nor are child care payments or health insurance; people have responsibilities and those are never furloughed. Federal employees will feel the effects of this shutdown months, years down the road.
Federal departments having to close down because of a lack of funding risks even greater threats. The Food and Drug Administration running out of finances means the likelihood of unsafe food being missed is increasing. The Transportation Security Administration are facing an exodus of employees — some calling in sick and others just outright quitting. The trust is being fractured and torn apart and it could harm the government’s ability to hire workers in the future. Why would someone work for a body that doesn’t take care of its employees?
Trust is under immense strain. The ability for the government to move, to function, and to employ is being carelessly tested. The game the Congress and the President are playing over the wall maybe makes sense and maybe it doesn’t, but right now, that’s not important. What’s important is paying our workers, maintaining our security, not allowing unsafe food to creep into our stores and homes. What’s important is that the United States government functions.
Yet, the end seems far off.
America needs a compromise, fast. There may be an agreement, however, with the Speaker of the House and the President hardly on speaking terms, it seems unlikely to be in the next few days.
Those in power must realize that this is not a game of chess. They hold the shutdown like it’s an arrow, trying to aim and shoot at the other party, in reality, though, it points on the people. It points on the people that put their faith in the government and are now hurting and struggling. It’s honestly shameful when the people of the United States can do nothing as those who swore an oath to serve lose their heads and forget those who put trust in them.
The shutdown is just another example of those in power losing sight of the citizens. It’s another example of party politics and blame tactics. Maybe this will end with a wall in the budget, maybe without, but America should be more worried about a different wall. It separates those at home from those who serve in Washington.