Shatha Khalil *
With continuous disagreements between US President Donald Trump and Democrats currently in control of the House of Representatives and the lack of agreement between the two sides, Trump said he was prepared to continue the partial shutdown of the US government, which has now entered its third week.
The reason for the partial disruption of the government as it was scheduled to pass twelve laws to congress to end the crisis of funding a number of ministries and departments and federal bodies, to be submitted to the President for signature, but the negotiations failed, causing a government shutdown , what does it mean shut down in the USA and its impact on America’s economy?
As a result of Democratic lawmakers refusing to approve President Donald Trump’s project to build a wall along the border with Mexico, dozens of federal ministries and departments will not be able to function, and their staff, estimated at hundreds of thousands, will have to take unpaid leave or work without pay during the shutdown .
The shutdown of the government is a political situation in the United States of America where the government ceases to provide services, other than “basic” ones, which usually include services that continue despite government disruptions including police, firefighting, National Meteorological Service and other bodies belong to it, Postal service, armed forces, utilities, air surveillance and correctional services noting the longer the shutdown period, the more severe the consequences.
This was not the first shutdown of the government. The last shutdown of federal administrations in the United States was in January 2018, this is the first under the Trump administration. It lasted only three days. Prior to that, the non-core administrations of Barack Obama were shutdown in October 2013 , the longest period, which lasted sixteen days, although not measured by the 21-day shutdown between 1995-1996, the third shutdown in one year, the government was shutdown for three days in January, and then shutdown a few hours In February 2017.
Government shutdown do not mean that all federal institutions funded by the US government are stop functioning , but limited to non-essential government institutions, meaning that staff in these institutions will cease to function until Congress has a funding plan.
The military, for example, is a necessary institution, but soldiers, including those present and involved in operations, will not be paid temporarily during the period of government suspension, while civil employees at the US Department of Defense, including military trainers, maintenance contractors and others are working.
If you are considering vacationing and visiting parks or museums and even national zoos, those facilities will be shutdown as considered unnecessary institutions that receive government funding.
As in some federal administrations in the United States, work was disrupted early on Saturday, December 22, after Congress postponed its consultations on the draft law of spending and met a demand of Trump to allocate $ 5 billion to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, on which he pledged to build it during his election campaign, which Democrats reject.
The shutdown may be the longest in the history of the United States, given the US president’s insistence on getting money to finance the construction of the US-Mexico border wall separating between US and Mexico to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants, Time magazine said in a report on its Web site.
Reading from the economic side:
The partial shutdown of the government means that the operations of several key agencies have been halted, affecting some 800,000 federal employees, more than half of whom have been forced to work without pay during the closure period, while the other half have been eliminated.
US lawmakers had approved about 75 percent of the estimated spending for the fiscal year, which began in early October and was signed by Trump. However, the conflict could affect nine out of 15 administrations, plus dozens of agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Justice, as well as national parks and forests, makes 800,000 federal employees unemployed and some of them forced to work without pay, the Associated Press news agency reported.
Many government agencies have already received funding, including the Pentagon, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and will continue their business as usual, regardless of whether the president and Congress will reach agreement or not .
The partial shutdown of the government will not affect the status of troops that will remain in place and function normally, and doctors and hospitals will receive compensation.
US basic agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), border guards, coast guard, customs and border officials will not stop working, but hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be forced to leave their jobs, according to the Associated Press news agency.
The Democrats’ report on the Senate Appropriations Committee confirmed that more than 420,000 federal employees would not stop working but would not be paid during the partial shutdown of the government, including 41,000 law enforcement officers and 150,000 employees working in internal security, as well as 54,000 customs and border protection officers and 42,000 Coast Guard personnel.
Five thousand forest firefighters and 3600 National Meteorological Service personnel will not cease to work and are likely to be paid after the government reopens.
More than 380,000 employees will be granted leave, including all NASA staff, housing and cultural development workers, and the Ministry of Commerce, as well as 16,000 employees in national parks, many of which will be closed.
Trump says $ 5 billion is needed to expand and improve border barriers along the Mexican border. Opponents of the president, including some in his Republican Party, accuse him of inflating the risk of illegal immigration for special political gains.
Trump also says: I am proud of what I do, and I do not call it a shutdown, but I call it doing what needs to be done for the sake of the country and its safety.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Studies and Strategic Studies