Government Shutdown: Will Students Go Hungry?

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Government Shutdown: Will Students Go Hungry?

William Souza-Ponce

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Update: This morning, 1/25/2019, in the 35th day of the shutdown, a large number of air traffic controllers at LaGuardia Airport called in sick, prompting the FAA to shut down one of the major airports in the US due to safety concerns. And then, roughly 14,000 unpaid IRS workers did not return to work today, putting enough pressure on Trump that he had to give in to agree that the government had to be reopened without funding for a wall, and with border security to be renegotiated after the government reopens. The bill has been voted on and passed in both the Senate and the House, and is now headed to Trump’s desk for his signature. If an new agreement is not reached in three week’s time, then the government will shut down again. This is still developing news, so stay tuned for more.

So you’ve heard about the shutdown, and you’re wondering what is going on? Well, what’s going on is that the president, Donald Trump, gave a temper tantrum on December 21, when congress denied him $5.7 billion so he could build a wall across the southern border, which was one of his campaign promises.

So he shut down the government, and isn’t reopening it until he’s granted the wall money. Meanwhile, about 800,000 federal employees are being affected by this, and as of January 7, there was a combined $249 million owed in mortgage payments for government employees who aren’t being paid, according to Zillow.

Not only are people not getting paid for their work during the shutdown, but several branches, departments, and agencies in the federal government aren’t being funded anymore. Which means that soon, they’ll all run out of money. Bank of America already pushed its estimated economic growth at the end of 2018 down by 0.1%. And also, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which feeds about 40 million people across the country, might run out of funding by February 1. SNAP feeds homeless people, does food inspections … and does school lunches and breakfasts. If the shutdown continues until then, then there might not be enough food for everyone. And if it somehow stays funded for longer, then it definitely won’t last until March. Lots of other things like, airports and police, will run out of funding by the end of February.

In the meantime, many people are suffering. Many contract workers, who don’t get paid very much to start with, may not get reimbursed for the unpaid work they did when the shutdown ends. The Secret Service is also being hurt by the shutdown. Agents are angry having to risk their lives only to not get paid.

“They are asking you to put your life on the line and not paying you – it’s ridiculous,” said Donald Mihalek to the New York Times. He is a 20 year Secret Service veteran who’s own retirement papers still haven’t been processed yet due to the shutdown.

“Morale is a serious issue. This is an incredibly stressful job that requires your full attention, and if you are standing there thinking about your mortgage, or your credit card bills, or that you are burning through your savings, you are distracted, you’re not able to give your 100 percent.”

About 6,000 out of 7,000 Secret Service agent won’t be paid for their work during the shutdown. Do you really think that 6,000 people who are putting their lives in danger for the government that isn’t paying them deserve this treatment? No! And if you disagree, imagine yourself, or a family member, in the position of a Secret Service agent.

Keep in mind that the Secret Service isn’t the only thing suffering. The funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has already been cut, the Agricultural Department is running out of money very rapidly, the Security and Exchange Commission is having to deal with a very small amount of workers to respond to emergencies with, and the Department of Homeland Security is struggling to function with a very limited pool of resources and money. Not to mention all the millions of taxpayers who aren’t getting their tax refunds because someone prohibited the Internal Revenue Service from refunding taxes to taxpayers. Fortunately, that person was not the president, because the president is supposed to be smart and intelligent- oh wait, it was. He’s even threatened to issue a State of National Emergency so that he can get the funding for his wall. He said lots of what you need to know in this recent prime-time speech.

Or here is the transcript of his speech. Just so you know, there are fact checkers in the bibliography, and he lied about once every 3 seconds.



TRUMP: My fellow Americans, tonight I’m speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.

Every day, Customs and Border Protection agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We are out of space to hold them, and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country. America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation, but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration.

It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone. Ninety percent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.

In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.

This is a humanitarian crisis. A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul. Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States, a dramatic increase. These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico. Women and children are the biggest victims, by far, of our broken system.

This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border. This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end. My administration has presented congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and human traffickers. It’s a tremendous problem.

Our proposal was developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents at the Department of Homeland Security. These are the resources they have requested to properly perform their mission and keep America safe. In fact, safer than ever before.

The proposal from homeland security includes cutting edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband and many other things. We have requested more agents, immigration judges to process the sharp rise of unlawful migration fueled by our very strong economy.

Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support. Furthermore, we have asked congress to close border security loopholes so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home.

Finally, as part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense.

The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year. Vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from congress. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.

Senator Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from later tonight, has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past along with many other Democrats. They changed their mind only after I was elected president.

Democrats in congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis and they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation.

The federal government remains shut down for one reason, and one reason only, because Democrats will not fund border security. My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation, but the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government.

This situation could be solved in a 45 minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the white house tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.

Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.

America’s heart broke the day after Christmas when a young police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien, just came across the border. The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country. Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders.

In California, an air force veteran was raped, murdered, and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history. In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading, and dismembering his neighbor. In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl.

Over the last several years I have met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration. I have held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief stricken fathers. So sad, so terrible. I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices, and the sadness gripping their souls. How much more American blood must we shed before congress does its job?

To those who refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask, imagine if it was your child, your husband, or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken. To every member of congress: pass a bill that ends this crisis. To every citizen, call congress, and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border.

This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve. When I took the oath of office, I swore to protect our country and that is what I will always do so help me god.

Thank you and good night.



SPEAKER PELOSI: Good evening.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can end this shutdown and meet the needs of the American people. Sadly much of what we heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice. The president has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts.

The fact is on the very first day of this congress, house Democrats passed senate Republican legislation to reopen government and fund smart, effective border security solutions. But the president is rejecting these bipartisan bills which would reopen government over his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall, a wall he always promised Mexico would pay for.

The fact is, President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety, and well-being of the American people, and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation, many of them veterans.

He promised to keep the government shutdown for months or years, no matter whom it hurts. That’s just plain wrong. The fact is, we all agree we need to secure our borders while honoring our values. We can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry. We can install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation. We can hire the personnel we need to facilitate trade and immigration at the border. We can fund more innovation to detect unauthorized crossings.

The fact is, the women and children at the border are not a security threat. They are a humanitarian challenge, a challenge that President Trump’s own cruel and counterproductive policies have only deepened. And the fact is, President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage and stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government.

Thank you. Leader Schumer.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: Thank you, Speaker Pelosi.

My fellow Americans, we address you tonight for one reason only. The president of the United States, having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the congress or the American people to foot the bill, has shut down the government.

American democracy doesn’t work that way. We don’t govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down. Hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.

Tonight, and throughout this debate and throughout his presidency, president trump has appealed to fear, not facts. Division, not unity. Make no mistake, Democrats and the president both want stronger border security. However, we sharply disagree with the president about the most effective way to do it.

So, how do we untangle this mess? Well, there’s an obvious solution. Separate the shutdown from arguments over border security. There is bipartisan legislation supported by Democrats and Republicans to reopen government while allowing debate over border security to continue.

There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference. Federal workers are about to miss a paycheck. Some families can’t get a mortgage to buy a new home. Farmers and small businesses won’t get loans they desperately need.

Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.

My fellow Americans, there is no challenge so great that our nation cannot rise to meet it. We can reopen the government and continue to work through disagreements over policy. We can secure our border without an ineffective, expensive wall. And we can welcome legal immigrants and refugees without compromising safety and security.

The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30 foot wall. So our suggestion is a simple one. Mr. President, reopen the government, and we can work to resolve our differences over border security. But end this shutdown now.

Thank you.


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