Top 5 Longest U.S. Shutdowns
- Dec. 22, 2018 - now
- Dec. 5, 1995 - Jan. 6, 1996: 21 days
- Sept. 30, 1978 - Oct. 18, 1978: 18 days
- Oct. 1, 2013 - Oct. 17, 2013: 16 days
- Sept. 30, 1977 - Oct. 13, 1977: 12 days
Editor’s Note: Sam Barloga worked for the campaign to elect Indiana State Representative Chris Chyung as Campaign Manager this past fall.
Sam Barloga is a sophomore political science major and writes “Sam’s Shorts” for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Sam at email@example.com.
There is a crisis in our country. However, it is not a crisis at our borders, but a crisis manufactured by the administration of President Donald Trump.
As the longest partial shutdown of the U.S. government in history rages through its fourth week, President Trump refuses to come down from his demand for more than $5 billion for a physical border wall with our southern neighbor — Mexico.
However, as our politics turns into the theater of the absurd, we once again forget the facts of the situation.
Throughout this debate on building a physical border wall, the media, pundits and the president have all seemed to forget that the majority of those staying illegally in the United States did not illegally cross the southern border.
According to an Associated Press Fact Check, the majority legally came across a port of entry at an American airport or land crossing and have never left. Others still have sought refuge in the United States by claiming asylum, which is not a crime under United Nations or U.S. law.
When Republicans, led by the president, ramble on about the need for a physical wall on our southern border — especially when experts have said that electronic surveillance methods could be a better solution for border control – it should not be seen as a realistic policy platform. Instead, it should be seen as a shallow attempt to scapegoat immigrants and to keep 800,000 federal employees without a paycheck for the time being.
Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans fail to realize now they are playing with fire. By keeping the government shutdown, it directly affects the pocketbooks of millions of Americans and the day-to-day lives of hundreds of thousands more.
Airport security, directed by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), has already seen tangible negative effects from the shutdown. Workers at airports around the country, including Miami, Indianapolis and Atlanta, have called in sick en masse, forcing checkpoints to shut down and air travel to grind to a halt.
Vandals have cut down endangered trees and made illegal roads at Joshua Tree National Park and others while many park rangers have been put on furlough, unable to stop the criminal acts.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has done its job many times over. They have passed a series of different bills to reopen the government since taking control of the chamber on Jan. 4. The Republican-controlled Senate has not voted on a single one of those proposals, despite a handful of GOP Senators urging their colleagues to act.
Many of these proposals are the same as what the Senate passed unanimously before the shutdown began to keep the government open, but the president said he would not sign the bills, beginning the bitter standoff with Senate Republicans, who are now mostly on the president’s side.
McConnell and Senate Republicans should act now, with or without Trump, in the interest of their constituents and the country as a whole to end this absurd shutdown and put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work today.
However, Trump has a stranglehold on the modern Republican Party. What he says almost always goes. So no matter how long these federal workers go without paychecks, it likely won’t matter to the Republicans in Congress who represent many of them.
All that matters to them is the opinion of the president. He started this crisis. Now will he ever end it?