OP-ED: US Government Shutdown 2019, Longest in History


Andy Xu

Written on January 13, 2019

As it enters its 24th day, this partial government shutdown has been the longest in U.S. history. The deadlock started when President Donald Trump demanded $5.7 billion to fund the wall on the US-Mexico border, which ignited strong disagreement from the Democratic Party. While the standstill continues, almost all departments in the U.S. government have been affected. Among the 2,100,000 workers in the U.S. government, around 800,000 government workers are going without pay.

According to a CNN report in the evening of January 8th, President Trump pointed out in a White House through television broadcast that “there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.” He further emphasized that “the border wall would very quickly pay for itself.”

Facing the longest shutdown of U.S. government in history, Senate majority leader McConnell responded that “he won’t bring up the House’s bill for a vote in the Senate without the funding.” While GOP senator Lisa Murkowski raised the concern about the “indefinite state of impasse,” she told CNN that “it’s just not good for any of us.”

On January 15th, the Republicans made a compromise by inviting several House Democrats to lunch to discuss the issue of the bill for the wall. Nevertheless, when the Democrats did not show up, they cause widespread disappointment for the Republicans. Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington indicated that he wished President Trump would compromise, criticizing the Democrats who “won’t even meet the President halfway.”

For the Democrats, they believed that the so-called “national security crisis” is not as severe as President Trump has talked about through television broadcast. Therefore, they disagreed strongly with the bill, led by the Senate minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

Regardless of the issue of border control, if the standstill is still not solved, the shutdown will bring severe damage to the economy of the U.S. According to the report by the White House, the economic loss will be over $6 billion if the shutdown continues for five weeks, which would even surpass the $5.7 billion bill President Trump demanded.

Personally, I agree with President Trump’s urge to solve the illegal immigration issue in the country. Nevertheless, demanding a $5.7 billion bill to fund the wall is an extreme method to solve the problem. In fact, the US already has walls in part of the borders in the South, but as long as the immigrants have the will to cross the wall, they would still be able to. I believe it is more important to do background checks on individuals wishing to cross the US borders, rather than making a physical wall. Because some immigrants coming into the US could also help the US economy, accepting a certain amount of them will bring benefits to the economy.