Story Of The Week

USA Government Shutdown

“How many are worried about a Government Shutdown.

How many are more worried about it starting back up”

-Jay Leno

On 19th January, the US government was shut down at midnight following a dispute between Democrats and Republicans.

Since September, the US government had been operating on funding measures that were temporary. A similar short term spending bill was put into the senate to extend the government’s funding. The bill needed 60 votes out of the 100 members but only 50 agreed to it. This last minute deal caused the government to shutdown.


Why did this happen?

The ruling party, Republicans are blaming the opposition i.e. Democrats for the upcoming troubles due to the non passing of this bill which will impact the citizens of the country, the national security, military families and children.

The Democrats on the other hand have given their reasons for opposing the bill. They had been pushing for protection of thousands of immigrants from deportation. They want an action to be taken to fix the DACA.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was an immigration policy established by Obama government in 2012, which allowed individuals who had entered the country illegally when minor, to get a renewable 2 year period deferred action from deportation and an eligibility to get a work permit. This was revoked by the US Government.

This new bill too contained no provision towards their protection. These are about 700,000 undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, who came to the USA as children who would be impacted by it. Democratic leaders are also frustrated due to lack of action on issues like Children’s Health Insurance Program and funds for community health centers. They are also asking for parity on defense and non-defense spending by the government.


The US shutdown will have a wide impact on the overall economy of the US. President Trump and US Congress are racing towards to pass a short term bill to continue the working of the economy and halt the shutting down of various agencies.

The impact of this shutdown will have a direct impact as well as specific impact on some of the areas of the economy. An approximate of 7,00,000 government workers will be out of service till the time the government resumes functioning. The US will see a loss of productivity from almost 1 million people.


Impact of this will be felt in certain sectors :


The US military will continue to report to work even with the shutdown in place. The members of the military will continue to fight wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, but will not be paid until the US congress approves funding.

The intelligence operations on the other hand being carried out in various countries will be stopped. The navy is at sea, for patrolling the water borders of the US and the airstrikes against enemies will continue.


A majority of the 1,15,000 workers working in the Justice Department have national security and public safety responsibilities that require them to continue their work even during a shutdown. The proceedings of Criminal cases shall continue but the proceedings of Civil cases shall be stopped, to ensure that public safety is not compromised.



The stock market policing Security and Exchange Commision collects fees from the members from the finance industry thereby funding itself, but the budget for the Commission is set by the Congress. The strategy (furloughing) of workers not being paid till the US Congress resumes functioning will be applicable in his case too, which will result in furloughing 95% of its employees immediately.

The processing of mortgages and loans was delayed in 2013, as the lenders were not able to access services such as income and social security verification. In 2013 there was a delay of 4 billion $ of tax refunds



The national parks will remain open during this time of the shutdown. The barrication of the parks during the 2013 US shutdown resulted in the loss of 7,50,000 visitors per day, accumulating to a loss $US 500 million in and around the areas of Smithsonian Museums across Washington DC, New York and Virginia.



During the 2013 shutdown the Medicare health program for the elderly continued without any disruption. A program at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for tracking outbreak of a flu was stopped. But this time the CDC will not stop its operations and will continue to track the outbreak of a flu.

In the 2013 shutdown, the Social Security and Disability checks were issued without any changes in the payments date, with field offices remaining open but offering limited services. A delay was experienced in the review of application of new applicants. Most of the employees at the Department of Veteran Affairs will be exempted from the shutdown.



More than half of the employees working in the transportation department, that is 34,600 out of 55,100 workers will continue working even with the shutdown in place. The bulk portion of these exempted workers belongs to the Federal Aviation Administration, responsible for air traffic control system. Controllers and Aviation, Pipelines along with Railways are workers who would continue to work.



The Energy Department on 19th January stated that the workers have to report to their work as they have done for years, the shutdown will have no effect on them. A prolonged lapse in funding to the department will result in furloughing some of the workers.

The last government shutdown in 2013 led to a loss of $2 billion in productivity. The ones before that in 1995 and 1996 cost about $1.4 billion. This time in 2018 it is expected that the shutdown will cost the economy a 6 billion $ per week.



This situation needs to be resolved soon. The two parties will soon be re-negotiating to come to an agreement to restore the government. The propositions are being made by some senators to sign a stopgap bill which will be of a shorter duration than the earlier proposed one. Republicans are hesitant to agree to the demands which are made by democrats in this way that is threatening the functioning of the government. Both parties need to come to a resolution soon as if this shutdown runs for long, voters could turn away contesting members from both the parties in the midterm elections.




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