Tue. Nov 12th, 2019

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

President Trump sacrifices the nation’s well-being for his self-motivated political agenda

4 min read
By GRACE WINFIELD Viewpoints Editor Today is the 34 day of the government shutdown. 800,000 federal workers are being affected and have not been paid. Tomorrow, they will miss their second paycheck.

By GRACE WINFIELD

Viewpoints Editor

Today is the 34 day of the government shutdown. 800,000 federal workers are being affected and have not been paid. Tomorrow, they will miss their second paycheck.

Administration officials have been scrambling to tackle the legal and logistical problems involved with steering previously allocated funding toward any project that can be described as a wall, a fence or a barrier. While Trump, the GOP and the Democrats continue to argue, Americans are victims of an argument we never asked to be a part of, and our country is suffering.

Portions of the federal government have been shut down since Dec. 22 after Democrats and Republicans in Congress reached gridlock in negotiations around funding the government over President Donald Trump’s request for 5.7 billion dollars for a wall along the United States-Mexico border—that Trump promised Mexico would “pay for.”

The longest government shutdown in history continues to drag on to another day. Trump puts the entire nation at stake to fulfill an outlandish campaign promise that fueled his loyal advocates’ unfaltering support. If federal workers missing two months’ worth of paychecks isn’t enough to wake up Trump’s followers, here’s what else is at stake. 

Public health.

For those who still won’t buy romaine lettuce, be wary of the next grocery trip or night out at a restaurant. The Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine food safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods at high risk for contamination, and only continuing to inspect meat and poultry.

The FDA oversees about 80 percent of the nation’s food supply, as well as most overseas imports, as reported by the New York Times. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, tweeted a couple of weeks ago that he was trying to restore food safety surveillance inspections and cover more high-risk sites by bringing back around 150 inspectors. The problem? They’ll work without pay. 

The Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission is to protect human and environmental health, ran out of funds within the first week of the shutdown, and furloughed about 95 percent of employees on Dec. 28.

Homelessness.

According to CityBeat, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is closed due to the shutdown. As a result, the HUD failed to renew roughly 650 contracts as of Jan. 5, and another 500 are set to expire by February. Between the two, those contract lapses could impact as many as 40,000 households across the nation. Meaning, those suffering with disabilities that are unable to work full-time, or at all, will be evicted and back on the streets.

There is a movement amongst some landlords to continue to allow suffering families to reside in their homes and will cover all expenses. On Jan. 8, the HUD sent letters to 1,500 landlords asking them not to evict residents in housing assistance programs — including those with Section 8 vouchers. 

These are just two examples of the many issues that are severely rising under the shutdown.

The people under his administration aren’t oblivious to Trump’s tyranny. Take former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who just last month resigned to protest Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria. Mattis said he resigned “…because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.” 

Yet, President Trump continues to abuse his power to build his legacy—or more accurately, his wall—and he is putting the entire country at risk. According to Trump, the wall is being built right now. Yesterday the president tweeted, “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL! This is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished (under construction now), of the Republican Party. Use it and pray!”

Donald Trump continues to make threats of political violence. During his address at the Rose Garden press conference, Trump threatened to call a “national emergency” to construct the border wall without congressional approval.“Yes, I have [considered]. And I can do it if I want.” He continued, “We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. Absolutely, no, we can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it. But we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.” 

Donald Trump and his GOP supporters are holding the country hostage to advance their own agenda, and he doesn’t care who he hurts in the process—the American people and the state of our nation. He refuses to strategize with Democrats, and even members of the GOP, and won’t take any proposed compromise that doesn’t involve an 800-mile structure into consideration. He continues to wildly inflate the amount of crime committed by immigrants and even more so, the claim that the border wall will end the opioid crisis. 

All and all, it’s not about ensuring safety, or keeping drugs and criminals out of the U.S. The shutdown is an aggressive assertion that he has the entire American government in a chokehold. The wall is a literal monument to his egotism, his testimony of power, and American workers are getting caught in the crossfire.

Modified 1/25/19

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