What you need to know about the government shutdown

Lily Haag, News Section Editor

The United States government shut down on January 19, but what does this really mean?

What is a government shutdown?

A government shutdown occurs when a spending plan cannot be agreed on by the Senate. Many federal agencies close down due to lack of funding, and their employees are not paid during this time. Law enforcement and other essential positions remain running, but any government branch that is deemed inessential requires its workers to stay home.

Why did the government shut down?

A spending bill had to be passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump by midnight on Friday 19 January. This did not happen, and without an approved spending budget the government closed down until a short-term agreement was passed.

Whose fault was it?

Like most political issues, it is easy to place blame on many different people. Republicans are blaming the shutdown on Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, who refused to sign off on a plan that would fund a border wall and disassemble the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Democrats are trying to force Republican leaders to make a deal giving deportation protections members of DACA since they decided to end the program.

What reopened the government?

Trump signed a bill on Monday, January 22 ending the government shutdown, ending a three-day deadlock and reinstating funds until February 8, when there will be another vote. This temporary bill came after an agreement between Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer.

Could it happen again?

When the temporary bill ends on February 8, there is a very real chance the government could shut down again. McConnell promised that if there is no agreement on immigration, the Senate would address DACA and border security as well as increased defense spending.