McConnell hurting millions with government shutdown

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McConnell hurting millions with government shutdown

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer address the nation, following Donald Trump’s address. Schumer claimed that “the symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall.”

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer address the nation, following Donald Trump’s address. Schumer claimed that “the symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall.”

Courtesy CSPAN

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer address the nation, following Donald Trump’s address. Schumer claimed that “the symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall.”

Courtesy CSPAN

Courtesy CSPAN

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer address the nation, following Donald Trump’s address. Schumer claimed that “the symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall.”

Note: Information in this article is current as of Jan. 22, 2019.

It began late in the evening of Dec. 21, 2018. The 535 members of the U.S. Congress could not come to an agreement with President Donald Trump about forming a budget for the new year, so many “non-essential” government services were shut down. Over 800,000 federal workers are either furloughed or working without pay. What has been dubbed ‘The Trump Shutdown’ by the president himself has become the longest and most damaging government shutdown in U.S. history.

President Trump has refused to sign any budget that does not contain his demanded $5.7 billion for “The Wall.” This demand holds hostage millions of people that rely on government services.

Before the shutdown began, both the formerly Republican-led House of Representatives and Senate passed a budget without the $5.7 billion allotment, with both Republicans and Democrats agreeing to the deal. Since then, Trump has refused to sign that budget, and the Congress has seated its new members.

Since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has come back into power, the Democratic-led House has passed an identical copy of that December budget, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to bring it to a vote in the Senate. After passing the same bill in December, McConnell now refuses to pass it again, as he believes it would be vetoed by the President. Even if it does get vetoed, however, McConnell has the votes to override that veto with a two-thirds majority of both the House and Senate.

While President Trump may be one obstacle keeping the government closed, McConnell also has the power to end this shutdown, though he refuses to do so. He has once again put the Republican party ahead of the welfare of millions of Americans, and the health of the U.S. economy. A Jan. 11 S&P report estimated that the shutdown has already caused $3.6 billion in lost revenues to the U.S. economy, and economic growth is slowing because of it.

Services like food stamps are now running on emergency budgets. National parks from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon are either closed or running on state funds.

Thousands of federal workers around the country who are now working without pay cannot afford to pay their bills after missing two paychecks. They now prepare to miss a third as the shutdown continues through its second month, and many government workers have resorted to finding part-time jobs to cover bills. Those who are deemed “essential,” however, cannot find other work. Those workers have to work without pay full time, and therefore can’t even apply for unemployment benefits.

This shutdown is bad for everyone. It is bad for politicians, it is bad for the economy, and it is bad for the millions of people who are now collateral damage in a political battle. McConnell has the power to end this shutdown, but because of his fear of overriding the veto of his own party’s president, he refuses to end what has become a nightmare for millions of Americans, and has no end in sight.

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