Why did the Government Shut down?

Trion Thomas, Newspaper Journalist

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With the government shutdown finishing its second day on Sunday, the Senate will take the floor at noon on Monday to vote on whether or not to fund the government. Nevertheless, the full effect of the government shutdown will be felt Monday morning, as thousands of government workers won’t come into their jobs as they usually would. The Monday afternoon vote is on a three-week spending bill that would expire on February 8 — one week earlier than the February 16 deadline in the House-passed bill. Senate Republicans and Democrats are still working to find some kind of agreement on a path forward for an immigration bill, which would address the status of people covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. With the deadline for Congress to pass a federal budget rapidly approaching (April 28th), you may be hearing a lot of talk about a so-called government shutdown in the news. But what exactly does it mean and why does it happen? Well the legislative branch has what’s called the “power of the purse”—or in other words control of the money. So if Congress can’t agree on a budget proposal or the President uses his veto power, the federal government essentially runs out of funds—which has happened twelve times since 1980.

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