It’s the end of the year, which means Congress is currently tasked with approving the government’s spending for next year. But there’s a hitch in the plan: in the midst of all the end-of-year budgeting, President Donald Trump is threatening another government shutdown.
During a shutdown, all “nonessential” government functions come to a stop. It happens whenever Congress fails to pass funding for the government, and as CNN notes, this year, there are seven spending bills that need to make it through Congress before the December 21st deadline to avoid a shutdown. With only a week to go until the funding deadline, a government shutdown is looking more and more likely—and the main reason has to do with Trump’s infamous border wall.
The Hill reports that Trump has demanded Congress pass a spending bill granting $5 billion to fund the wall. But House Republicans haven’t even introduced a bill for discussion, which implies that they really don’t think it will pass. December 13th was the House of Representative’s last vote until the 19th—two days before the deadline.
Democrats have proposed two different measures that would avert a government shutdown, but both only allocate $1.3 billion for the wall, the same amount budgeted in 2018. So far, however, Trump has been unwilling to compromise. In a December 11th meeting with the two top Congressional Democrats, he straight-up said he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.”
If there is a shutdown, “nonessential” employees at departments that Congress fails to fund will be placed on unpaid leave, while “essential” employees will continue working (without pay). Meanwhile members of Congress would continue to receive their salaries, since they are not technically federal employees.
If an agreement is not reached in time, employees at NASA and the Internal Revenue Service will be sent home, as well as 80% of people working at national parks, forests, and presidential libraries. Post offices would remain open. Let’s hope we can avoid a government shutdown—because people’s livelihoods depend on it.