Thanks to Donald Trump's refusal to sign a budget appropriations bill that doesn't include at least five billion for his border wall project, the federal government has been plunged into a partial shutdown that will affect 400,000 furloughed government workers along with 400,000 "essential personnel" who will be required to work without pay, and thousands of contract workers.
This shutdown will have a ripple effect as the activities of departments and agencies like NASA, the Department of Agriculture, the IRS, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Justice are severely curtailed. Some won't be able to perform key operations — such as administering nutrition benefits to low-income Americans — or prepare for regulatory changes that will take effect in the new year. The longer this shutdown persists, the higher the cost for people who just want to get back to work, and for the American people as a whole.
Trump's racist, environmentally destructive, impractical, and extremely costly proposal for a wall was a cornerstone of his 2016 campaign. He's made it a repeated talking point during his time in office. Now, he wants to hold the country hostage to make a point, no matter how much ordinary Americans suffer as a result. He claims federal employees support his stand, but federal employee unions beg to differ. They know from personal experience, like the total shutdown in 2013, that the costs of a shutdown are unacceptably high.
Insisting that you'd rather see the entire country crash and burn than sign a budget appropriations bill that doesn't waste billions on your pet project is offensive and not in the spirit of democracy. Congress' job is to represent the will of the people, and the people have been very clear: Most of us do not want a wall.
Give it up, Donald. Let Congress make the funding decisions we elected them to make, and stop endangering federal workers and the operations of government agencies in a misguided attempt at getting what you want.
Photo: NPCA Photos