WASHINGTON D.C. (4/25/17)— The federal government may shut down this week, as at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday it will run out of money, unless Congress can get a budget passed, and get the President to sign it, something that seems unlikely, since President Donald Trump has indicated that he won’t sign anything unless it has funding for his border wall.
If he holds his line, and Congress can’t work it into the budget, the federal government will shut down, which means that millions of federal employees will be laid off. It will also mean the closure of all national parks and museums, as well as suspend public ours of the US Capitol and the White House. Entitlements like Social Security will also be halted, since the people who work the machines that cut the checks will be laid off.
So how did we get here?
Simple. every fiscal year, the US Congress must pass a budget, which allows for funding for the entire federal government. There is a certain date every year that it must pass, which is dictated by the previous budget’s expiration. Once the budget passes Congress, it goes to the White House to be signed by the President.
In cases where a budget isn’t able to be passed, there is a second option, a continuing resolution, which is a stopgap intended to buy time for the White House and Congress to get a budget passed. These continuing resolutions can last for anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of months.
Obviously, the best-case scenario is for Congress and the White House to agree on a budget, and get it passed before Saturday, but with President Trump’s insistence on a border wall, we could be looking at the first federal government shutdown since 2013, when it was shut down for 16 days.
Who would be to blame for a shutdown?
This is a complicated question, as the only people who would truly know the answer are the ones negotiating. From the outside, it would appear that the White House would be to blame, since it is the President who is insistent on funding for a border wall. To others, it would seem to be the fault of Congress for not giving the funding for the wall.
No matter what the outcome is, there is going to be plenty of back-and-forth in the media over the next few days, and if it comes to a shutdown, there will be a lot of finger-pointing from Republicans.
What remains open during a shutdown?
Not much. The only things that remain open and functional are services that are considered essential. In short, emergency crews like federal agents, the FBI, and the Secret Service would remain open.
The US Military will remain operational, and those who are in service will remain on duty, though they could be delayed in getting their paychecks, depending on if a deal can be reached to allow those checks to be processed like normal.
What can I do to prevent a shutdown?
Simple. Contact your congresspeople and tell them that you don’t want a government shutdown. Like was shown during the Obamacare repeal attempt, congresspeople listen when a lot of their constituents speak loudly and in a unified voice.