The United States Government started its second partial shutdown of 2018 at midnight on Saturday, December 22 when President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress could not agree on an Appropriations bill for 2019. This bill decides what the US government will spend its money on for the 2019 fiscal year, and both the President and the Congress need to agree on that amount.
It is called a partial shutdown because parts of the US government are still working even though over 800,000 federal government workers are not at work and no one who works for the US government is getting paid right now. This shutdown continues, and the impact is greatest on children, our most vulnerable citizens.
Because federal workers are not being paid, this means that over a million people have to make really hard decisions about how to spend the money they do have to make sure so they can pay for basic things like their home and bills like water and food. This means they do not have enough money for important things for children like daycare, extracurricular activities like sports and arts, and unique medical treatments that their health insurance does not cover.
First, if a family is unable to pay for medical treatments for a sick child, this could mean the difference between life and death. If medical treatment is experimental, it may not be covered by health insurance but is saving a life or making a child’s life better.
Second, daycare is so important to help keep a routine for children. It is hard for them to understand why they can’t go somewhere they love, and that also helps their early childhood development. If the family cannot afford to pay for it, this puts stress on the parents who need to watch them while looking for another job.
Finally, many extracurricular activities cost money and are an important part of a child’s development and social interaction. How do you explain to them they can’t be part of a team or participate in a class because you can’t pay for it, and how do they tell their teammates or teacher or coach?
This all makes children feel sad and confused and puts even more stress on the parents who are trying to find a way to pay bills and do the right thing for their family. A parent made a patriotic decision to work for the US government, and now they are put in a terrible position that hurts our children while the President and US Congress can’t figure out a way to play nicely with each other. Isn’t this what they teach kids in kindergarten.