U.S. Government Ends 37-Day Shutdown

Updated January 25

The United States’ government shutdown will come to a close, as President Trump temporarily backed down from his demands for funding the Mexican border wall. The new spending bill will keep the government open until February 15, and does not include any money for the border wall. Trump made clear that he is willing to resume a shutdown or declare a national emergency if Congress fails to reach an agreement that includes funding for the wall by February 15. The shutdown began at midnight EST on December 22 and is the longest in US history.


Published January 24

Since December 22, the United States government has partially shut down as a result of a funding dispute between Congress and President Trump. Trump has demanded that any new budget must include $5.7 billion for his proposed wall at the United States-Mexico border.

Currently, nine federal departments and agencies are closed, because they have run out of funding. Departments that are deemed ‘essential’ continue to operate, including embassies, the postal service, federal prisons, law enforcement, and air traffic control. However, employees that work for these departments do so without pay during the shutdown. As of now, 380,000 employees have been furloughed, while other federal employees continue to work without pay. In the past, employees have been paid for their labor after the government reopens, however, the Trump administration has not made a guarantee.

The American Federation of Government Employees has filed a lawsuit against Trump, claiming that federal employees are being forced to work without pay. Similarly, the National Treasury Employees Union and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association have also sued Trump as a result of the shutdown.

Even once the government reopens, the effects of the shutdown will be extensive. The Food and Drug Administration has been unable to do routine food safety inspections, meaning that products such as cheese and meats are being sold without inspection. 

At approximately four weeks, this is the longest shutdown in United States history. Previously, the longest lasting shutdown occurred in 1980 and lasted for 21 days. Since 1981, there have been a total of 13 government shutdowns. Trump recently rejected a proposal on January 14 by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to temporarily reopen the government.

The shutdown will end if Democrats give in and allocate funds for the wall or Trump agrees to approve a budget without funding for his wall. Democrats have agreed to give $1.6 billion to enhance border security, but this compromise has not currently been accepted.