Dealing With Government Shutdowns

Ruby Oakes, Reporter

The United States government was shut down from December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019, by President Donald J. Trump. It was the longest shutdown to ever occur. The government was shut down due to a dispute between Donald Trump and Congress over the border wall. Large parts of the US government lost their funding and were forced to close which caused many people to go without pay.

Some people went without pay for the entire five weeks that the government was shutdown. This not only influenced them but their families as well. The majority of the people harmed by the shutdown have a very tight income, so going without pay for that long took its toll. While a large number of people employed by the government were affected by the shutdown, Donald Trump was not. Mark Gamba, the Mayor of Milwaukie Oregon, said, “Just like going to war, the people who make these decisions should feel the direct impact of their decisions.” 

Some of the agencies that lost funding during the shutdown were Homeland Security, Transportation, and Commerce. NASA, the FDA, and the IRS also had to furlough most of their employees, even though they are independent agencies. Some specific people that were affected were TSA workers. Some TSA workers called in sick because they were working without pay. This caused some delays in multiple airports across the country.

The larger part of people hit by the shutdown were these government employees. Many people were aware of what was going on at the time of the shutdown but did not know its effects. 92.3% of students in the Intro to Journalism class at the Schellenberg Technology center took a survey and said that they were aware of the government shutdown. 61.5% of these students were concerned about the effects of the shutdown but only 7.7% noticed an impact. One student said, “I know a lot of people who work for the government and it affected them because they could not work anymore till Trump got his stuff together.” 

 Students from Milwaukie High School were interviewed about their thoughts on the shutdown, if/how it affected them, and if they noticed if anyone around them, like their friends or family, were hurt in any way by the shutdown. Some of the reasons that students were unaware of the consequence of the shutdown was that they didn’t know anyone who worked in or for the government, they don’t keep up to date on the news, or because it didn’t directly concern them.

As stated before, the majority of the people the government shutdown had an effect upon were employees of the government. The shutdown didn’t change most people’s day-to-day lives so some weren’t aware of it’s affects. Mason Roy-Hart, a sophomore from Milwaukie High School said, “I personally was aware of the shutdown, but I didn’t realize that it hurt so many people and their families. I think that is because no one around me works for the government.” Zane Garvey, another sophomore from Milwaukie High School said, “I knew the government was shut down, but it didn’t really affect me so I didn’t know that much about how it was impacting other people.”

The government shutdown was reported by multiple news sources, but all of the specifics didn’t reach everyone. The unpaid employees were not the focus of all of these articles. Esmeralda Reyes, a sophomore from Milwaukie High School said, “I knew that the government shutdown was happening, but I didn’t like watch the news or read anything about it, so I didn’t really know that people weren’t getting paid.”

Donald Trump’s government shutdown lasted a total of 35 days. During those 35 days, many people were left without pay. The people who went without pay were significantly impacted and so were their families.