BY: AMBER JUAREZ
Photo courtesy of AP images. Pedestrians walking past the Legislative Building at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington.
The federal government was officially shut down on Dec. 22, 2018, and ended on Jan. 25 2019, a total of 35 days. This was the longest government shutdown in history.
The shutdown was enforced because President Donald Trump and Congress could not come to an agreement on funding for a border wall. President Trump demanded $5.7 billion federal funding for a physical barrier along the United States-Mexico border.
A week before the shutdown, on Dec. 11, 2018, President Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer had a meeting in the Oval Office about the U.S Mexico border wall. During the meeting, President Trump refused to cooperate with Pelosi and Schumer. When Schumer and Pelosi both told Trump that there are other ways to solve border security rather than shutting down the government. This was President Trump’s response, “If we have border security we will keep it open, if we don’t we are not going to keep it open.” Throughout the meeting, Trump kept saying that he will close the government if he doesn’t have it his way.
Just days before Christmas, thousands of government workers had no idea when their next paycheck would come. Many agencies were shut down which led to workers not being able to work. Federal workers were in a panic during the shutdown because they were unsure if they would be able to pay their bills.
While federal workers were worried about their jobs, President Donald Trump still refused to end the shutdown because he wanted $5.7 billion for the U.S. Mexico border wall. As President of the United States, Trump should be thinking of all the workers and not himself.
Pelosi plainly said, “Trump has chosen the wall over workers. The President needs to end his senseless shutdown and reopen the government.” Keeping the government shutdown for over a month makes this country look weak when this country is not weak.
This shutdown not only affected federal workers but it also the National Parks. Many National Parks were vandalized because there were no workers on duty.
Joshua Tree National Park suffered the most damage during the 35 days of the shutdown. Ancient Joshua trees were uprooted because careless people were off-roading through them. Graffiti was found on all the rocks, and there was evidence of illegal campfires, which may have resulted in the park going up in flames.
Former Joshua Tree superintendent Curt Sauer said, “What’s happened to our park in the last 34 days is irreparable for the next 200 to 300 years.” This “short” shutdown created long term damage to many National Parks.
President Donald Trump kept the government shutdown for 35 days because he was demanding $5.7 billion for the U.S Mexico border wall to “protect” the US. If his intentions were to actually protect the US, he would not have shut the government down.
The President’s actions made thousands of people suffer for 35 days because he was being selfish. This shutdown has proved that the president does not care about his country.