President Trump signed a bill on Monday ending the government shutdown that had been in effect since Saturday, Jan. 20, according to CNN.
This shutdown closed down government activities that are deemed “nonessential,” while things like military and law enforcement, social security checks and air traffic controllers remained active, according to Vox.
Assistant Professor of Politics Gayle Alberda explained some of the effects that the shutdown could have had on University activities while it was in effect.
“For professors, grants that have been submitted will likely not be reviewed during the shutdown, thereby halting research. Additionally, federal agencies that also have data on their websites, such as the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, might not be able to keep their data updated during the shutdown, which can impact research and student learning,” Alberda said.
“For the most part, federal funding for student aid (2017-2018) has already been disbursed. Funding the Pell Grants, where students obtain some aid, is mandatory, thus unaffected by the current shutdown,” Alberda continued. “But, students who need a passport to study abroad might experience delays.”
First-year Krista Detulio explained how she believes students can remain aware of issues involving the government shutdown.
“Do your research, look at the news every day and know what’s going on,” Detulio said. “Stay aware and stay on top of things so that you know.”
The shutdown was caused by Democrat and Republican senators disagreeing over the passage of the federal budget. However, now that a temporary budget has passed, the government will continue to function normally until Feb. 8.
“I think it should be a good thing because it gives them more time to prepare,” said Zack Ervin ‘19.
Issues such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Children’s Health Insurance Program were major conflicts for senators when they voted on the budget. Democrats refused to accept the budget without a promise from Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that DACA will be further discussed in February.
Chair of the Politics Department Dr. Janie Leatherman commented on the aftermath of the shutdown.
“I think it is possible that the government would shut down again, especially if there is no solution on DACA, which is a key issue for the Democrats. However, it appears the Republicans will attempt to secure as many of their priorities as possible, including funding for border security and increased military budget and limits on what they call ‘chain migration,’ while their commitment to a solution to the DREAMers is not certain.”
Leatherman further explained that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans could gain much from keeping the government open.
Leatherman explained that the political costs of the shutdown included “Democrats [being] vulnerable to Republican accusations that they shut the government to advocate for illegal immigrants, and Republicans unable to govern effectively even though they control the Congress and the White House.”
Alberda explained some possible fallouts of the shutdown during election season.
“Polls indicate that most Americans believe the Republican Party is responsible for the shutdown,” Alberda commented. “The question is will this affect the Republican Party’s ability to retain their seats, thereby keeping majority in Congress? Or will it affect their ability to get re-elected?”
Leatherman seemed to agree with this sentiment, adding, “The bottom line is Republicans could have avoided a shut down if they had been willing to build a consensus with Democrats.”
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