Congressional feud over border wall causes strife for Americans; President declares National Emergency

Hailey Poggemoeller

More stories from Hailey Poggemoeller

In the United States, a government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass appropriation bills.

President Donald Trump requested that Congress include $5.7 billion for a wall along the Southern border between the U.S. and Mexico but was met with resistance from the Democratic party. The shutdown began at midnight on December 22. On January 25 (days) later, President Trump made a surprising announcement to reopen the government until Feb. 13. On February 15, President Trump declared a national emergency, this would be the 32nd active national emergency in the US. The National Emergency act was enacted in 1976, signed by President Gerald Ford. it empowers the president to take on special, temporary powers during a crisis. A president can declare a national emergency if the nation is in an emergency circumstance. The President will make a formal decision that specifies what will happen. In this case, President Trump plans to allocate military programming money to help him fund a wall along the US-Mexico border.

As the longest shutdown in American history, approximately 800,000 federal employees worked without wages or were furloughed without pay.   

“My dad was affected by the government shutdown, well it affected my whole family but mostly my dad,” freshman Melissa Gonzalez, whose dad works in transportation with railroads, said. “Money has been a problem, we have been having to watch what we spend. It’s unfair, especially to the families that aren’t getting paid, I just don’t understand the point.”

According to CBS news 420,000 of those employes went to work without pay during the shutdown. That included 5,000 firefighters, 14,000 FBI agents, 53,000 TSA agents, 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents,42,000 Coast Guard employees,17,000 correctional officers, and 4,000 Drug Enforcement Administration agents. 

From Snoop Dogg to Cher, celebrities reacted to the government shutdown. A video recorded by rapper Cardi B captured the attention of politicians and civilians. 

“I just wanna remind you that it’s been a little bit over three weeks,” she said in the video. “Trump is now ordering federal government workers to go back to work without getting paid. This is serious. Our country is in a shutdown right now. All for a wall.”

A few hours after she posted the video on Instagram, it garnered more than 8 million views.

In the United States there has been a total of 59 national emergencies since the National Emergency act was signed in 1976. These reasons include the attack of 9/11 and the national emergency with respect to blocking the property of persons involved in serious human rights abuse.