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Here's a breakdown of the current government shutdown

Right now, the United States is experiencing the longest shutdown in its history. Twenty-five days in and federal workers and beyond are becoming frustrated with the consequences. From inconveniences such as an inability to process tax returns to more pressing nationwide issues like federal employees missing paychecks and a halt in food inspections, it's hard to see why President Trump initiated such a panic-inducing scenario.

Here's the deal: unlike the Obama Administration's 16-day shutdown in 2013, this isn't about healthcare. The current government shutdown began when Congress refused to settle on a spending bill for Republicans to fund a border wall, a hot topic that's surrounded Trump's presidency since the beginning.

During the time the government has been shut down, Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency over the funding for the wall, as well as try to use money allocated for natural disaster cleanup (which could be used to aid those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico) to begin construction on the wall across the entire Mexican border. (Although, Trump did recently back off the natural disaster funds.)

The money causing the disagreement is no small sum: the Trump Administration wants $5.7 billion for 215 miles of border wall. Not only are our elected representatives concerned as to where the funds will come from, but it seems as though the design and concept of the wall are still unclear. On Dec. 21, 2018, Trump tweeted what appears to be the first public prototype for the wall:

What continues to be the cause of confusion, however, is the inconsistency of the plans. Just 10 days later, on Dec. 31, Trump tweeted a "clarification" of sorts, contradicting the information he passed along.

For now, uncertainty will continue to rise in the border wall debate, as well as the goverment shutdown. But you aren't required to stand idly by as this all unfolds. You can call, email or write your elected representatives, whose contact info you can find on your state's government website, and let them know how you feel about the shutdown and the wall.

There are ways we can help, too. Unpaid federal workers have been reported to be receiving help from food banks nationwide, which means that you can volunteer, donate or coordinate pop-up-booths with your nearest location. 

What do you think of the government shutdown? Do you think there should be a border wall between the United States and Mexico? Share in the comments.

Photo credit: GIPHY, Win McNamee / Staff

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by Logan Potter | 1/15/2019
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