Between a wall and a hard place

Autumn Brown/The News

When Congress set out to approve the budget for 2019, no one expected it to cause a national crisis.

President Donald Trump and the Republicans threw a curveball when he had $5.7 billion added to the budget for the border wall and refused to back down.

Trump met with Democratic leaders, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer to discuss the border wall funding on Dec. 11.

“If we don’t get what we want… I will shut down the government,” Trump said. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”

The shutdown began on Dec. 22 and has set the record for longest government shutdown in U.S history.

Shutdowns are not a new occurrence for the U.S. government.

Under former President Barack Obama, the struggle to pass the Affordable Care Act caused a 16-day shutdown.

Interestingly, during that shutdown Trump tweeted, “The reason why Americans have to worry about a government shutdown is because Obama refuses to pass a budget.”

Hypocrisy aside, there is a recurring problem within the U.S. government: a refusal on both sides to compromise due to selfishness and stubbornness and an overall lack of regard for the American people.

Even worse, the biggest consequence our representatives face is the disdain of the public, while America and her people are suffering greatly.

The shutdown means that fundingfor several government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Department of Agriculture and more is being appropriated by congress until a budget is passed.

The American workforce is taking the biggest hit from the shutdown.

According to a statement from the Senate Appropriations Committee, more than 420,000 federal employees are working without pay and an additional 380,000 are not working at all.

When many working-class citizens live paycheck to paycheck, a total cease of payment can lead to an inability to keep the lights on and food on the table. American families are suffering.

The FDA had ceased routine food inspections, but resumed the process Tuesday with unpaid workers.

In December, there was an E. coli outbreak, which was contained by the FDA and the CDC, caused by contaminated lettuce.

The U.S was unprotected from similar dangerous outbreaks from December 22 to January 15, and is only protected now because FDA employees are willing to work without pay.

National parks are also being hit hard by the shutdown.

Employees that normally keep parks clean and safe are furloughed or working without pay, leaving the parks understaffed and vulnerable to vandalism and misuse of park lands.

There is no way to effectively close an entire park, what could be closed has been, and while the government is shut down, parks are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars from entry fees that are used to keep them up and running.

Land Between the Lakes is currently at risk for issues such as the spread of garbage and human waste and illegal camping.

Visitors are also at risk of becoming lost or injured without trained employees to help.

America is suffering at the hands of its own elected leaders. Congress has a fundamental inability to work together and it is ignoring the needs of its people for selfish interests.

Students, this is something you should care about. You are affected by the government shutdown directly and indirectly.

The American governmental system is proving to be ineffective and broken.

Students are the future of this country. No matter what your political ideals are, this shutdown has a negative effect on your life. Keep that in mind the next time you vote.