Government Partially Shuts Down Amid Fight Over Border Wall
By RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter
December 22, 2018
Parts of the United States government shut down at midnight after the House and Senate failed to pass a spending bill amid a fight over how to fund a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. This makes the third shutdown for 2018, something that hasn't been seen in 40 years.
Funding for nearly a quarter of the federal government's services expired at midnight, with non-essential parts of the government closing indefinitely.
One small consolation is that for now, the shutdown shouldn't have much impact on your holiday plans. Post office workers will remain on the job, ensuring packages will get where they need to go on time. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is also slated to keep working through the shutdown and help keep air travel running smoothly. The National Weather Service announced in a tweet that their agency will also continue to operate as normal.
NORAD announced that their Santa Tracker will also go unaffected by the shutdown. The agency says they plan on tracking St. Nick around the world Christmas Eve as previously scheduled.
Social security checks and Medicare benefits will still be paid on schedule. Benefits paid by the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and Women, Infants and Children, will continue to be available so long as there is still money available in the states or federal accounts that service them.
Essential personnel such as Customs and Border Patrol Agents and Secret Service agents will also continue working - albeit without a paycheck for now.
Funding for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the State Department, the Interior Department. the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development expired at midnight. That means more than 420,000 federal employees will have to go to work without pay, while another 380,000 will be furloughed.
Those people who go to work will be paid eventually once the shutdown fight is finished, but depending on how long the fight takes, federal employees could wind up missing a paycheck.
Funding the government seemed certain earlier in the week with legislation ready for both chambers of Congress to pass. However, on Thursday, President Trump told House GOP member he would not sign a funding bill unless it included $5 billion to fund a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The House passed a bill that included Trump's demand, but it quickly became clear there was not enough support in the Senate to pass a bill that included the funding for the wall.
Lawmakers are convening on Saturday to try and find a plan that will fund the government, despite Congress being out of session. If a plan comes together, a vote could be held as early as Sunday.
Photo: Getty Images