Since Dec. 22, 2018, over 800,000 U.S. employees have gone without pay due to unresolved budgetary issues on Capitol Hill.
According to recent comments by White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, President Donald Trump is standing by his comments that he will continue the shutdown to get $5.6 billion to construct a wall along the United States/Mexico border as promised in his presidential election campaign. This is the longest shutdown since December 1995, during President Bill Clinton’s administration. The 21-day shutdown ended when the two sides agreed to a seven-year budget plan with few spending cuts and tax increases.
So what exactly is a government shutdown?
According to the Washington Post, the federal government gets its funding from annual budget appropriations decided by Congress. Many agencies had been operating on a series of temporary extensions, the last of which expired Dec. 21 at midnight. Since funding was not enacted for those agencies, they were partially shut down. Employees working at those agencies will have to stay on the job or get furloughed, but nonetheless, they will be unpaid until spending authority is reopened.
Stephen Wilson, a junior business management and computer information systems double-major and SGA Assistant Director for Transportation, is experiencing first-hand the effects of the epidemic.
Wilson’s mother has been employed with the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service for over 28 years. She has not been paid in over 25 days.
Wilson expressed his faith during this troubled time for his family.
“Through our faith and trust in God we are making it,” Wilson said.
Wilson stressed the importance of “rainy day” preparation even though the federal government provides job stability.
“Due to the government shutdown, my family and I are having to be mindful of our spending because we do not know how long the government shutdown will continue,” Wilson said.
Dr. Gavin Hamms, Director of Student Financial Aid, understands why some students are worried about the reception of refunds.
“For incoming freshman, tax verification is on hold due to the closure of Internal Revenue Services (IRS),” Hamms said. “Federal guidelines state that we must collect tax return transcripts directly from the IRS. However, due to the shutdown, the Department of Education has given us a temporary provision.”
Conservative writer Bill Kristol suggests that in Trump’s first two years of presidency, he had a chance to get a vote on the wall.
Adarian Williams, Student-Body President, has interned at Capitol Hill, and has some insights for students who are concerned.
“Over the summer, I interned on Capitol Hill and experienced many arguments regarding the status of the budget,” Williams said.
Still, he wants to ensure students that they will receive all funding.
“People have been asking if they will receive a refund all break,” Williams said. “Your financial aid refund will not be affected by the shutdown.”
The SGA president extends his efforts to any students having registration issues who were affected by the closure to contact Student Government Association.