Everything You Need to Know About The Government Shutdown

Amanda Swank, Editor-in-Chief

Over the past four decades, there have been 20 U.S. government shutdowns, and they’re becoming more and more common. Here are some facts you need to know about the most recent one.

1. What causes a government shutdown?

According to the U.S. Constitution, Congress must continuously pass bills approving spending for the federal government. Each time the current spending bill expires, Congress must pass another one to make sure the federal government can still operate. When the government can’t decide on a spending plan, the government begins to shut down, causing government agencies that do not have approved funding to stop all operations.

In this case, President Trump refused to approve funding for the government until he is given over $5 billion dollars to build a wall on the southern border of the United States, causing a quarter of the government to shut down.

2. What happens to workers during a government shutdown?

Once government agencies cease working, workers are either furloughed (granted temporary leave) or made to work without getting paid. On Friday, 800,000 federal workers obtained an IOU from the government instead of a paycheck. In the meantime, the House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to offer to pay back all federal workers for their time during the shutdown. But until it is signed into law, federal workers can’t do anything about it.

 3. This is the longest government shutdown in the entirety of U.S. history:

So far, it’s been day 26 of the government shutdown, an unprecedented event in U.S. history. Nine federal agencies have been either shut down or affected by the president’s refusal to sign any deals that do not include more than $5 billion for the wall. At this point in time, it is unclear how long the current government shutdown will last.