The government shutdown must end

The government shutdown must end

Dominick Calcara, Staff Columnist

Imagine voting for a candidate who promises change, prosperity and diligence while in office, only for them to be forced to do nothing at all because the government decided to take a break. As of today, the United States government has endured a shutdown for the past 19 days, and President Donald Trump has promised to keep it going for “months or even years” if his proposed spending bill is not accepted. According to NPR, around 800,000 federal employees are without pay currently, and if the president’s words ring true, they won’t be back to work anytime soon.

The proposed bill would allocate over $5 billion to the construction of a wall along the southern U.S. border. House Democrats and Republicans are split on the issue, leading to the president ordering the shutdown. This is the second major government shutdown under the Trump Administration, with the former lasting Jan. 19 to Jan. 23, 2018. However, the earlier shutdown was focused on fighting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as opposed to building a wall.

During government shutdowns, congresspeople do not participate in any governmental actions and are usually not paid during the gap in activity. This is an ineffective way to run a government, as their main job is to pass and review laws and regulations to better the lives of U.S. citizens. Shutdowns also hurt those in federal positions who do not make large amounts of money, and many miss bill payments due to the break in activity.

A battle over who should be to blame for the shutdown is a hot topic between Democrats and Republicans. Conservatives blame the House Democrats for not cooperating and being “childish.” Liberals blame Trump for also being “childish” and say the border wall would be racist and unfair.

Both sides have good points. If the U.S. is to truly become a safer place, we need to enforce our borders. Currently, our government spends over $4 trillion a year, so a $5 billion increase for the wall is a miniscule number in comparison. However, this does not excuse Trump’s behavior on the subject. He must recognize the rhetoric he uses upsets Democrats to the point that they will never side with him, creating even more of a partisan clash in our government. The Democrats must help to protect our borders and realize a wall in itself is not racist. Trump is calling for the ending of illegal immigration, not the ending of Latin Americans coming at all. It is not racist to want to secure a country’s borders.

No matter the solution or how to achieve it, one thing remains clear: In order to get anything done, the government must not allow this shutdown to continue any longer. It is unfair to unpaid government workers, voters and those who want to see change and growth in our nation. Trump and the House Democrats must come to some sort of agreement on the issue, lest we risk an extended shutdown that could last longer and do more damage to the United States and its citizens.