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Political Battle Intensifies, Leading To Government Shutdown

by Kelly Langevin

The political battle for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals deal was a driving force for the federal government shutdown that lasted three days.

Some Democrats are blaming Republicans and President Donald Trump for the shutdown because it is the Republicans who run the House and Senate. On the other hand, Trump has stated on his Twitter that Democrats are “all talk” and caused the shutdown for “the interests of their far-left base.”

“It is important for America’s politicians to focus less on blaming each other and more on agreeing to permanent and fair immigration policy,” Colin Savino, freshman and Student Government Association senator, said.

“I think it was more of a blame game more than it was effective for the push for Dreamers and DACA,” Johanna Zukowski, freshman and SGA senator, commented, agreeing with Savino. “The Republicans blamed the Democrats for voting against the bill because there’s no Dreamer funding, but the Democrats blame the Republicans because they control Congress, so they should’ve avoided a shutdown.”

Trump announced in September that he would end the Obama- era DACA program on March 5 unless Congress acted to extend it. Democrats in the House and the Senate have been clamoring for a permanent legislative fix to protect the young immigrants, known as the Dreamers, according to The Atlantic.

In January, Democrats refused to vote on a spending bill that did not deal with DACA, ultimately being the primary force for the shutdown.

During shutdowns, federal employees are split into two groups: “essential” and “nonessential.” Nonessential employees receive furloughs, meaning they are off work until the shutdown has been lifted with no pay. Essential workers do not get payed either, but must still report to work. When the shutdown is over, federal employees are paid for what they went without.

It only took three days for Congress to end the shutdown, voting to reopen the government, but only for three weeks.

In a last-minute decision, senate Democrats agreed to pass a spending bill that would fund the federal government through Feb. 8, as well as would fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also assured Democrats that there would be a negotiation for an immigration deal within that time period and put a bill on the floor for a vote, according to Vox. The House passed the same bill a few hours later.

Feb. 8 is approaching and it is not clear if three weeks is going to be enough time to fix the immigration issue, along with other spending issues the government is facing.

So far, the parties still have not agreed on new budget caps, which put a limit on spending for defense and domestic programs. Without budget caps, any massive spending bill risks triggering a sequester, across the board cuts to domestic and military spending, according to Vox.

Only time will tell if the Democrats and Republicans will stop blaming each other and solve the issues the U.S. is facing today.