With the ongoing political fiasco on Capitol Hill, you might be wondering: when will the government open again? Not anytime soon, it seems like. With the House unlikely to hold votes this week, along with the pushback from Senate Democrats against President Trump's controversial border wall demand, this partial government shutdown could extend into 2019.
This continued lack of movement after the Christmas break comes after Trump said on Tuesday that he refused sign any funding measures unless it included funding for his border wall with Mexico. The president faces opposition from Senate Democrats over that demand, including high-ranking members like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Trump is asking for some $5 billion in construction money for the supposed border wall, reneging from his previous claims that he would make Mexico pay for it. Now, it seems as if it is up to the Congress to fulfill Trump's border promise.
The president's refusal to budge on his wall demand won't shock many, considering his comments to Pelosi and Schumer he would be "proud" if the government shutdown over it happened. This shutdown, which has been in effect since the midnight of Dec. 21, isn't Trump's first either; there have already been two such shutdowns under his administration.
Some may be curious about what actually happens during a government shutdown. It depends on the type of shutdown that takes place. In the case of a partial one, certain non-essential governmental projects are either delayed or paused. About 25 percent of the government is currently shut down, affecting some 800,000 workers.
For those hourly government workers, however, finances can get rough. It is possible that such a partial shutdown could result in hourly employees not getting paid during the holiday season. For people with families and urgent needs like paying medical bills or student loans off, this can be a huge pain.
And it seems like the shutdown is already taking its toll on people. NBC News reported that the United States Office of Personnel Management advised thousands of unpaid government workers to contact creditors to make ends meet in the meantime. Paying those creditors off is yet another financial struggle.
Things are much easier for members of the Congress and the president during such a shutdown, though. After all, as The Washington Post reported, salaries for congressional members have already been secured under a previous bill.
The issue of not getting paid as Capitol Hill squabbles over a partisan border wall issue has even irked some newly-elected politicians. "Next time we have a [government] shutdown, congressional salaries should be furloughed as well," New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Dec. 22.
"It’s completely unacceptable that members of Congress can force a government shutdown on partisan lines and then have Congressional salaries exempt from that decision," Ocasio-Cortez added. "Have some integrity."
If matters continue to unfold as they do now, the partial government shutdown will be the first on the new Congress' to-do list come Jan. 3. This possibility was also by White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday. "I think it’s a really good question here," Mulvaney said then, "as to whether or not this deal can be cut before the new Congress comes in."