By: Kayla Hunt, Columnist
The government has been shutdown since Dec. 22 and still no signs of a resolution have been seen. This has been marked down in the books as the longest U.S. government shutdown, superseding the previous historic shutdown of 21 days.
President Donald Trump has notoriously claimed that the shutdown will proceed for months, even years until he receives funding for a border wall. Trump claims that a border wall will decrease the flow of drugs and human trafficking and result in a decrease of criminal activity in the United States. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, the majority of the public are against the idea of expanding the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The poll showed that 58 percent of Americans are opposed to the idea, whereas 40 percent of Americans support it.
The government shutdown has created chaos among Americans regarding their finances. There have been concerns raised regarding if the government shutdown will affect EBT, food stamp benefits and FAFSA. These concerns have been addressed; people will receive their EBT and food stamp benefits for February in late January instead. Financial aid for college students should not be affected for the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year; however, students may have trouble when filing for FAFSA for the 2019-2020 school year due to the closure of IRS offices during the government shutdown.
Around 800,000 federal employees have either been furloughed or working without pay since the government shutdown and will not be receiving compensation until the government reopens. Many people and organizations have been coming together during this difficult time to help relieve the financial burden that federal employees are facing.
There are ways that we can support furloughed workers who are not getting paid due to the government shutdown. One way that you can get involved is by donating to a food bank; look online to see if any food banks in your area are expanding their services to help furloughed workers. Another way to become more involved is by contacting your senators and representatives and expressing your support behind getting federal workers back to work and receiving compensation. You can find out who your representative is at the United States House of Representatives website.
If you know anyone that is being affected by the government shutdown, there are many organizations that are seeking to help federal workers during this difficult time. Uber and Lyft are hiring furloughed workers, wireless providers such as AT&T and Verizon are offering flexible payment arrangements, and many banks such as Discover and the Bank of America are providing assistance programs to federal employees.
The good that has come out of the government shutdown is that once again one of Trump’s erratic decisions at an attempt to divide our country has proven to just bring us closer together. The bad and the ugly are the people who are getting hurt in the process to demonstrate that the president’s decisions are not proving to be representative of our country’s ideals and beliefs.