The partial closure of the US government, which this midnight will be the longest since the documents exist, was demonstrated this Friday with all its seriousness when about 800,000 officials were left without receiving their salary. Trump's determination to build his wall on the Mexican border and the Democrats' refusal to finance him has led to an unprecedented situation that presages the challenges facing the polarizing president in this new phase of shared power. In the absence of an agreement that seems unattainable, the closure would end with a national declaration of emergency that threatens the president for days, but this Friday said that "it is not something you think you are doing right now".
What is a government closure?
The federal bureaucracy that maintains many aspects of life in the United States is financed by an annual budget set and approved by Congress. It is done through a dozen draft laws that must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and must be signed by the president. If it does not exceed this majority, or if the president does not sign it before the regulatory date, the parts of the government that remain without funding close. Workers are sent home, leave without pay, with the exception of those who are believed to work because of the nature of their employment. These are forced to do it at no cost.
How is this closure?
From this Friday to midnight, when he matched the 21 days that lasted on 6 January 1996 under the presidency of Bill Clinton, it is the longest since there are records. This is a partial closure, which means that it does not affect the entire federal government, since other departments have already been financed in advance. Clinton was also partial, but much more extensive. The fact that this affects only a quarter of the government is one of the reasons it can last so long. The departments involved in the closure are Agriculture (40% of employees), Commerce (87%), National Security (13%), Housing and Urban Development (95%), Interiors (78%), Justice (17%), Transport (34%), Environment (95%), Treasury (83%) and part of the State Department.
How many workers are affected?
About 800,000 officials are not collected. A total of 420,000 of them have been qualified as essential and are working without pay, such as airport customs personnel or border guards; another 380,000 are in their homes. In some cases, affected workers face serious difficulties, as evidenced by the fact that they have to pay $ 249 million in monthly payments on their mortgages, according to the Zillow real estate portal. In other closures they have charged later, but it is not guaranteed. Those who do not charge for lost hours are the hundreds of government contractors who have been left unable to work.
How does the rest of the citizens influence?
Farmers, for example, will not be able to receive assistance to join the new approved aid programs. National parks and museums are closed or offer very limited services. Thirty million small business owners can not access federal loans or technical assistance. Who wants to buy a house or refinance a mortgage is forced to wait. Food safety inspections are delayed, the law against gender-based violence has run out of funds. The activity is practically blocked at scientific research agencies, including NASA. Tax rebates are delayed.
Why did you get here?
The closure of the government began at midnight on December 21, after the president and congressional democrats failed to reach an agreement to finance the wall that Trump wants to build on the Mexican border. The president calls for the addition of $ 5.7 billion to federal funding, which was to be approved before December 21 for this purpose. Trump refuses to give in to a lawsuit that the Democrats consider an expensive and ineffective measure and, in the words of the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, directly "an immorality".
Whose fault is it?
For some, Trump. For others, the Democrats of the Congress. In any case, the blockade is due to the new reality of the divided power that debuted the country on January 3, in which the Democrats control the House of Representatives. Polls indicate that the majority of Americans blame the Republicans and, in particular, the president. Most do not support the wall or do not believe it is a priority. Trump himself said in December, in a meeting with democratic leaders, that he would assume responsibility with "pride". But now he blames the Democrats.
How can it be solved?
At the moment, there seem to be only two outputs: a very difficult and a very controversial one. First, an agreement is reached that allows the two parties to proclaim a victory. For example, the approval to finance part of the wall in exchange for other measures. The second, a national emergency declaration that allows the president to draw the Congress and decree the construction of the wall. It would be an unorthodox use of presidential powers, which would unleash a difficult constitutional battle. On 3 January, the House of Representatives, which has a democratic majority, approved measures to finance all closed departments not linked to border security. The Senate, majority Republican, refuses to vote on a proposal that the president would veto. Trump threatened January 14 to continue closing for "months or even years". For a few days, each time it is more a supporter to declare a national emergency.