January 13, 2019

Government Shutdown Record


By Annie Siebert

Photo by Amir Mohamed

The political impasse between President Donald Trump and Congress has brought about the longest government shutdown in U.S. history — 23 days. Trump’s refusal to sign any appropriations bill that doesn’t include more than $5 billion to build a wall along the country’s southern border has shuttered or adversely affected nine federal agencies, including the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Transportation Department. Shutdowns are becoming increasingly common — the government has closed 20 times in the last four decades, and the longest closure prior to this one was a 21-day standoff in 1995.

Impacts of the shutdown go beyond the departments. The roughly 800,000 federal employees who missed a paycheck last week are struggling to figure out how to pay bills. Farmers haven’t received the support checks promised to them in the wake of international trade wars with China. Endangered trees in Joshua Tree National Park are being damaged and cut down as the campgrounds have closed and security decreased. Small businesses in towns with furloughed federal workers have had to close because the pause in paychecks. It’s unclear when the shutdown will come to a close, but it’s clear the impacts will last much longer. 

Photo by Justin Merriman of American Reportage

Annie Siebert, Postindustrial's editor-in-chief, began her journalism career as a copy editor on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's night city desk before reporting on the city's eastern suburbs. She then worked as an editor for S&P Global Platts' real-time news service; on freelance writing, editing, and researching projects; and for LedBetter, a data project that tracks corporate progress on equal opportunity and diversity.



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