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Let’s break down a government shutdown

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While the government might be reopened after a three day shutdown, understanding how these events occur and who they impact is important as we could soon find ourselves in the midst of another.

The three-day government shutdown came to an end on Monday as the house passed a short-term spending bill that will fund the government until February 3rd.

The recent shutdown was caused by disagreements between Democrats and Republicans on what belonged in the budget. While Democrats pushed to include DACA reform in the fiscal spending bill, Republicans were concerned about border security and supported the construction of the border wall along the U.S. and Mexican border.

But what exactly is a government shutdown and what are the effects from it?

A government shutdown occurs when both parties of congress and the president fail to approve a federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

During a shutdown, all nonessential government offices are closed. There are varying factors that can measure how much of an effect a shutdown can have on people’s day to day lives.

All non essential government employees are placed on furlough, or essentially a leave of absence. Those placed on furlough often suffer through financial hardship as there is often a lot of uncertainty on when they can get back to work.

For some government employees, there is debate on whether to be considered essential or non-essential. Victoria DiGiovenale, a technical claims specialist with the Social Security Administration in Cincinnati, said it took some time for her job to be deemed essential.

The first shutdown she experienced was in 2013. It took congress a couple of days to realize that Social Security employees are exempted from being furloughed. As an essential employee, she is expected to report to work and not allowed to call in sick or take a vacation day.

Due to shutdowns, there are sometimes delays in her receiving her paychecks. DiGiovenale expressed frustration at the uncertainty government employees are placed under.

“I feel the shutdowns are a power play, members of congress are exempt and are paid during all shutdowns,” Digionevale said. “That makes it easy enough for them to make the call and my fellow government employees and I are just pawns in their game.”

Not only do shutdowns present hardships for those employees, but it could also mean danger for the rest of the population.

According to The Journal of Science Policy and Governance, during the government shutdown in 2013, the flu surveillance program that was supposed to help people get flu shots and tracks cases was shutdown.

If the government enters another shutdown next month, about 61 percent of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s staff will be furloughed. Health professionals are warning this flu season to be one of the worst ones in recent history.

Depending on the state, the shutdown can affect individuals differently across the union. According to a study done by WalletHub, Ohio will not be affected as much as other states by a shutdown since the state does not rely as heavily on the federal government for jobs and federal programs as compared to other states.

In recent years, the country has seen an increase in government shutdowns. The first government shutdown occurred in 1976 under Gerald Ford and since then, there have been 17 shutdowns.

The shutdown under the Trump administration was the only one in history to occur under a single-party White House and Congress.

If a budget is not passed next month, the government can expect to be in the midst of another shutdown.

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