Longest Government Shutdown in History Leaves Employees Without Pay


On Dec. 22, 2018, President Trump partially shut down the government over a dispute with the Democrats over funding for his wall to line the southern border. Even 35 days—the longest amount of time the government has been shut down in United State’s history—into the shutdown, Trump demands his $5.7 billion which the Democrats zealously oppose.

In simple terms, the government has shut down because two opposing sides are unwilling to make a compromise, according to Upper School History Chair Steve Kramer.

“Literally what we have is a standoff between two groups: Trump on one side, and the Democrats on the other,” Kramer said. “Neither wants to lose. The longer it goes on, oftentimes, is worse because it’s like they keep putting money in while gambling, regardless of their hands. Eventually, they just have to keep betting because they’ve already put so much in.”

Currently, neither side is willing to compromise, as demonstrated by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s postponement of the State of the Union Address until the government shutdown has ended.

“The ante has been upped with Pelosi saying she wants Trump to postpone the State of the Union Address, and Trump canceling her, and other congress members’ trips to the Middle East.” Kramer said.

The shutdown has affected over 800,000 workers from nine different departments and many federal agencies. Therefore, those 800,000 federal employees are left without work or pay, although some people who are deemed necessary ( the coast guard, TSA, etc) are required to work without a stipend.

Many government employees have been evicted, had to sell their houses or find other work during the shutdown. Some families rely on food banks, friends and other organizations to find help and get food.

Hockaday sophomore Emma Kogan studied the United States government in her history class and learned about the shutdown. Specifically, they learned about how it has affected federal workers.

“It’s not fair to all the people who are losing their money. For the people who live paycheck to paycheck, it’s hard to make ends meet. People have had to sell their houses. This shouldn’t be something happening to them.” Kogan said.  

In Dallas specifically, many local restaurants and companies have catered to federal employee’s needs. The Twisted Trompo Taco Restaurant, for example, is serving one dollar tacos to any federal worker until the government is fully reinstated.

Until then, however, one dollar still might be unreasonable to pay without using a paycheck. Currently, no one knows when the government will be reinstated so that federal employees can resume working.

“Compromise is really what it’s all about. While we elect the people who represent

us in the end, it’s up to them to work out their differences and support the people they govern.” Kogan said.

Story by Eliana Goodman

Photo provided by Flickr user jpalinsad360