United States federal government shutdown of 2018

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A shutdown of the United States federal government began at midnight EST on Saturday, January 20, 2018, after a failure to pass a relevant legislation funding bill for government operations and agencies. This stemmed from disputes over the status of persons affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy, and therefore whether those covered under the program should face deportation or have a path to permanent resident or citizenship. There was also a dispute over whether funding should be allocated towards building a Mexico–United States border wall, a keystone policy during Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

This is the second shutdown in United States history to occur while both chambers of Congress as well as the White House are controlled by the same party; a brief government shutdown in 1980 also occurred under unified party rule.[1][2] The 2018 shutdown began when the Democrats voted to filibuster the continuing resolution which requires a supermajority to end.[3] The shutdown began on the first anniversary of Donald Trump taking office.[4]

Background

The U.S. government's 2018 fiscal year began on October 1, 2017. Because regular appropriations bills to fund the government had not been passed, Congress funded the government through a series of temporary continuing resolutions. On September 8, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017 (together H.R. 601[5]), extending temporary funding until December 8, 2017.[6][7] Two additional continuing resolutions were later passed: the Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.J.Res. 123) funded the government through December 22, 2017, and the Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R. 1370) funded it through January 19, 2018.[8]

The negotiations on a permanent appropriations bill had become entangled with disputes over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy. DACA is a U.S. immigration policy that allowed some individuals who entered the country as minors, and had either entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit. As of 2017, approximately 800,000 individuals were enrolled in the program created by DACA. The policy was established by the Obama Administration through executive action in June 2012 in response to Congress' failure to pass the DREAM Act. The Trump Administration rescinded DACA in September 2017, setting an expiration date of March 2018, with the stated preference that Congress adopt a legislative solution.[9]

Shutdown

External video
Senate Cloture Vote Tally on CR: 50–49, January 19, 2018, C-SPAN

As of January 19, 2018, the Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R. 195) was under consideration to extend funding through February 16, 2018. The bill passed the House on January 18, but a cloture vote in the Senate failed 50–49,[10] with 60 votes required to end a Democrat-led filibuster,[11] at around 10:45 pm EST, shortly before the midnight expiration of the previous continuing resolution. Forty-five Republicans were joined by five Democrats in voting yes to the cloture motion on the resolution, while four Republicans voted against cloture. This continuing resolution, supported by Republican leadership, included a six-year authorization for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which had not been funded since October, and delayed several healthcare taxes stemming from the Affordable Care Act. Democrats preferred a shorter resolution lasting a few days, intending for negotiations to incorporate an extension of the DACA policy.[12]

As the shutdown began, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill proposed a bill that would ensure the military would continue being paid and receive death benefits during the shutdown; such a continuing resolution had been passed unanimously during the 2013 shutdown. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the measure, wanting to "restore funding for the entire government before this becomes necessary". This resulted in the bill's failure.[13][14] In proposing the bill, McCaskill had noted that Trump had blamed Democrats if the military were to go unpaid during the shutdown.[15] McConnell himself had also accused Democrats of keeping "the government shuttered for American troops, American veterans, American military families".[16]

On January 20, McConnell called for a vote at 1 am EST on January 22 for a bill that would keep the government open through February 8, and is not likely to include concessions Democrats are seeking on immigration.[17]

Effects

The Trump administration announced its intention to minimize the impact of the shutdown. National Park Service (NPS) facilities will generally remain open, although staff will still be furloughed and some areas of parks may be closed if the lack of staff requires it.[18] National monuments in Washington, D.C. will remain open.[19]

Some agencies may stay open for a limited time by using unspent funds from sources other than annual appropriations, or using fee revenue.[18] The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can remain open for a few weeks after the shut down since it will have access to fees already collected in prior years,[20] the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it could stay open for a week, and workers from the Department of Energy and Department of State were told to report to work on Monday.[21]

Unlike in previous shutdowns, the local government in Washington, D.C. will continue operating through the shutdown, due to a provision enacted in the previous year's appropriations legislation, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.[22]

Due to their status as federal service academies, the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) canceled all of their collegiate athletic events until further notice;[23][24] the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), United States Naval Academy (USNA), and United States Military Academy (USMA) were not forced to cancel or reschedule games due to how their athletic programs are organized and funded.[25] The Army Black Knights men's ice hockey team was reportedly forced to cancel its yearly hockey rivalry game against the Canadian Royal Military College Paladins,[26] but the game was later announced to happen as scheduled.[27]

The Department of Defense said that the American Forces Network (AFN) would not be operating during the government shutdown.[28] However, AFN broadcast NFL playoff games on January 21 after two channels—for news and sports—remained on.[29]

Reactions

Politicians

On January 19, Trump tweeted that it is "[n]ot looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border. Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy."[30]

In a statement, the White House blamed the shutdown on Senate Democrats and said that it would not negotiate with the Democrats on immigration.[31] The President's planned trip to Mar-a-Lago in Florida was postponed hours prior to the shutdown.[32]

Referencing his meeting with Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, "We discussed all of the major outstanding issues, we made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements. The discussions will continue."[33]

As the deadline for the 2018 funding approached, commentators pointed out Donald Trump's previous statements regarding shutdowns. In May 2017, Trump said that "our country needs a 'good shutdown'".[34] Back in 2013 during the Obama presidency, Trump, when asked who should be "fired" if there is a government shut down answered, "if you say who gets fired it always has to be the top (...) problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top and the president’s the leader (...) when they talk about the government shutdown, they’re going to be talking about the president of the United States, who the president was at that time", and that in a shutdown, "the pressure" was on the president.[34][35]

On January 21, Trump tweeted, "If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.'s!"[36] However, a representative for McConnell said the majority leader was opposed to using the nuclear option.[37] Republican Senator Susan Collins said that a group of more than twenty moderates will present ideas for resolving the shutdown of the federal government to the Senate's leadership.[38]

In a speech to US servicemembers at a military facility near the Jordan–Syria border, Vice President Mike Pence said that immigration talks between lawmakers and the White House couldn't proceed until the government reopens.[39][40] Republican Senator Lindsey Graham criticized White House policy advisor Stephen Miller, saying negotiations were going nowhere as long as he is in charge of negotiating immigration.[41]

Social media

The hashtag #TrumpShutdown became the top trending hashtag worldwide on January 20, 2018.[42] By the afternoon of January 20, #TrumpShutdown had been used some 2.6 million times on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; while the hashtag #SchumerShutdown was mentioned 1.3 million times during the same period. Other existing hashtags, such as #GOPShutdown and #DemShutdown, were mentioned 236,000 and 107,000 times respectively.[43]

Public opinion

In a CNN poll conducted between January 14–18, 56 percent of respondents said avoiding a shutdown was more important than continuing DACA as opposed to 34 percent who said the opposite.[44]

People responsible for the government shutdown
Poll source Fieldwork Trump Congress All Ref.
Republicans Democrats
Politico/Morning Consult January 18–19, 2018 41% 36% [45]
The Washington Post/ABC News January 15–18, 2018 48% 28% 18% [46]
CNN January 14–18, 2018 21% 26% 31% 10% [44]

See also

References

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External links