Here's What You Need To Know About The Possible Government Shutdown

By Torre Payton-Jackson

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, photo via  Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, photo via Getty Images

On Friday January 18th, exactly one year since Trump took office, the House and Senate must decide whether or not to pass the new budget. If this bill does not pass the government will effectively “shut down”. The prospect of a government shutdown grew more worrisome as the week progressed. President Trump’s alleged “shithole countries” remark in regards to Africa and Haiti effectively opened up his own Pandora's box. 

Not only were the criticisms and controversy for the president himself outstanding, these comments affected the Democrats’ responses to the bill. President Trump’s comment sparked a conversation about immigration; since the vulgar remark was mentioned in context of Trump desiring immigrants whom do not come from “shithole countries”. Democrats were already fighting Republicans on immigration before this comment. More specifically, they were fighting for funding to protect immigrant children, also known as Dreamers, when they enter the country.

Most House and Senate Democrats pledged to not vote for this bill unless their demands have been met effectively shutting down the government. A government shutdown entails the stopping of non-essential government activities. Most presidents and parties who have control of the House and Senate attempt to pass a funding bill in time to avoid a shutdown. Despite a Republican-led White House, House, and Senate, Republicans still may have trouble avoiding the shutdown. Should there be a shutdown, government workers will not get paid, national parks and national monuments will be closed among other consequences until a spending bill is agreed on and passed.

Republicans are using the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a bargaining chip for the Democrats. The Republicans are threatening to pause funding for this program which would leave around nine million children unable to use their insurance for medical needs. This is a last ditch effort for the Republicans to get this bill passed. It seems as if whether or not the government shuts down, children will still be put at risk.

Now the Democrats must make a choice on Friday: vote no until immigrant children are funded and protected by the government or vote yes to the bill and avoid a government shutdown while affirming the continuation of CHIP. The House voted Friday evening to approve the spending bill, but the bill will still need to be passed in the Senate, where its fate is unclear.

Kayla PasacretaComment