Government Shutdown Continues over Border Wall Dispute

I hope you never played chicken as a teenage driver. The fact that you’re reading this today tells me you probably didn’t.

Chicken is a “game” in which two drivers speed toward each other. The one who turns away first loses and is called a chicken.

If neither turns away, one or both drivers may end up in a hospital or a morgue. Not exactly a game worth playing, is it?

There’s a game of chicken going on in Washington, D.C. right now. Neither President Donald Trump and his supporters nor the Democrats are turning away as they speed toward this collision.

Should Congress Fund the Wall?

Now, an invisible wall between Republicans and Democrats in Congress is nothing new. It’s been standing between them for many years.

But this may be the first time the government has actually experienced a partial shutdown over a physical wall.

Trump and many Republicans want funding for a wall on the Mexican-U.S. border. That’s to help curb illegal immigration.

Many Democrats and some Republicans don’t believe that the funds would be put to good use. They’d prefer other forms of security.

800,000 Federal Employees Affected

Both sides have dug in their heels and say they won’t relent. But both sides are also feeling heat from their constituents to get this thing resolved. And get government employees back to work.

In a moment, I’m going to ask what you think about this whole situation. I hope you’ll take time to respond.

In the meantime, let me give you a little background. Since December 22, about 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed. Or are working without compensation, because of the shutdown.

In addition, legislation that passed the Senate prior to the shutdown are on hold until the House can officially reconvene.

Social Security Checks Still Coming, But Food Assistance?

It’s called a “partial” shutdown because some core government functions are still running. For example, mail delivery continues, including Social Security checks. And military and law enforcement operations are still up and running.

But nine government departments have been affected. Including Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the Treasury. Also shut down are NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Many national parks and museums are closed for now. Others are partially open because state officials are providing manpower. A vast majority of IRS employees have been sent home.

Food assistance programs will continue for now. But CNN reports that the nearly 38.6 million Americans dependent on food stamps could see reductions if the shutdown continues into February.

The USDA says the food stamp program is funded through January. But it has only $3 billion in reserves to cover February. That’s less than two-thirds of what is currently being funded.

Shumer Says Trump Is Wrong

The Democrats just took a majority in the House of Representatives. Just before then, Trump met with their lawmakers including Nancy Pelosi.

He insisted that Congress allocate $5.6 billion for a border security wall. This is one of Trump’s key campaign promises. As expected, the Dems said “no.”

Senate minority leader Chuck Shumer said he talked to Trump. He asked the president to give him one good reason why he should continue the shutdown.

“He could not give a good answer,” Shumer said.

Trump Says Dems Are Wrong

Trump’s response is that he is insisting on funding for the wall. He said he will hold out “as long as it takes.” And that it “could be a long time” before the government reopens.

“This is national security we’re talking about,” Trump said. “It’s too important a subject to walk away from.”

Sarah Sanders is the White House spokesperson. She accused the Democrats of refusing to compromise on the issue.

“President Trump made a serious, good faith offer to Democrats to open the government, address the crisis at our border and protect all Americans.”

Dems’ Plan Called ‘Non-Starter’

The Democrats have presented a plan to fund most government agencies through September 30, 2019.

But the proposal would not support the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for overseeing border security. That agency would only have funding through February 8.

Sanders called that idea a “non-starter.” She said it “does not fund our homeland security or keep American families safe from human trafficking, drugs and crime.”

Not every Republican is on board with what Trump wants. Utah Senator Mitt Romney recently blasted the president for “anti-immigrant” statements.

What Do You Think?

As promised, I’d love to hear what you think about the government shutdown. And the proposed border wall.

Do you believe a border wall is necessary to help control illegal immigration?

Do you believe Congress should fund this wall?

Do you believe a disagreement about a border wall is worth shutting the government down over?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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