The Government Shutdown for Three Days… Let’s Talk About It

*The opinions contained in this article do not represent the views of Her Campus Nationals or Her Campus at the University of Pittsburgh.*

 

The government shut down for three days, spanning from January 20 to January 22.  It officially shut down because Congress failed to pass a new budget before the old one expired, explained by Vox.  However, more controversy lies in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program.  According to USCIS, recipients of this program are called Dreamers, and they arrived in the United States as children.  Unfortunately, the Trump Administration decided to end the program, leaving Dreamers without legal protections and susceptible to deportation.  Democratic congressmen support the program, at a 92 percent approval rate, and therefore decided to withhold their support from government funding bills.  Since bills need a 60-vote supermajority and at least nine Democratic votes to pass the Senate, the government in turn shut down.  The Senate eventually voted 81-18 to end the filibuster, and 100-0 to play the blame game.  Fun fact: only 99 senators vote out of 100 because one senator is protected in case of an attack or emergency.

Republicans blame Democrats, and Democrats blame Republicans.  The most notable dispute right now is between the Senate leaders; both of whom commented on the filibuster and their agendas.  Majority leader Mitch McConnell stated that he would allow free and open debate on immigration next month if the issue had not been resolved by then.  He then urged colleagues to vote to end the shutdown.  Republicans want to stop funding the DACA program and restructure the federal budget.  They usually lean towards limiting spending on the Gross Domestic Product and reducing government spending and regulation.  They believe the economy would benefit from less tax on companies and want to allow them to be more competitive in the world market.  Other public issues such as transport, environment, and agriculture should be run by a state-federal-private partnership, they believe.  This would then sell our unprotected ecosystem to the highest bidder, not the people.  Programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are also considered overbudgeted according to the Republican party. 

On the other side, Minority leader Chuck Schumer stated that if an agreement is not reached by next month, the GOP leader will bring a vote to the floor on legislation to grant legal status to those protected under DACA.  Roughly 700,000 Dreamers would then be considered illegal immigrants if the plan is cut.  Democrats usually lean towards structuring taxes higher for the upper class and lower for the middle classes.  They want government to pay for new initiatives and borrow less from other countries.  Bills funding education, health, and safety are commonly supported by the Democratic party.  They want to protect Dreamers from deportation and continue funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  In reality, neither party has a handle on the budget.  If they did, then we would not be 17 trillion dollars in debt.

This only further proves how being a political figure is challenging, yet it is a position that needs to be taken seriously.  Currently, we have 106 women and 430 white members in Congress.  That means women account for 19.8 percent of Congress despite having a population that is 50.5 percent female.  Our Congressmen are supposed to represent and serve, yet how can they serve a diverse population when 80.3 percent of them are white?  People of different ethnicities are not being appropriately represented in our government.  Our democratic republic system needs more diversity to reflect the 38.7 percent of nonwhite Americans.  Minorities will soon become the majority.  I am not saying that one person would or should speak for an entire ethnicity or population, however it is at least a start, and we desperately need change within our system.

Despite all of the terror detailed above, I want to end this article with a quote from Gilda Radner’s SNL character, Roseanne Roseannadanna, because satire will always prevail in culture, “There’s always something, if it’s not one thing, it’s another”.

Sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Photo Credit 1, 2