US government shutdown: Staff still not paid for work

Last updated at 09:33
Government employees have been protesting against the shutdownGetty Images
Government employees have been protesting against the shutdown

Hundreds of thousands of staff working for the United States government are facing their 24th day of work without pay.

Some took to social media to post photographs of pay slips - letters which tell them how much money someone is paid for their work - which showed $0.

And many workers have also been asked not to turn up to work due to places like museums and parks being closed.

Since December 22, the United States government has been forced into shutdown as a result of a breakdown in debate around a spending bill.

The workers will not be paid until the spending bill can be agreed.

But there is no sign that the shutdown is due to end anytime soon - with both sides of the debate refusing to budge on one key issue - the building of a wall between the United States and Mexico.

United States Capitol with a closed signGetty Images

Currently, President Trump is refusing to sign a spending bill to reopen parts of the government because the opposition party, the Democrats, in Congress won't include funding for the wall he promised on the border between the United States and Mexico.

Last week, talks between the Mr Trump and the Democrats broke down when the president walked out of the meeting. He described it as "a total waste of time".

The Democrats accused Mr Trump of throwing a temper tantrum, because they refused to back his proposed border wall with Mexico.

As a result, 800,000 government employees have been forced to stop work until both sides reach an agreement.

On Friday, those workers affected - including prison guards and airport staff - missed their first payday of the year.

What did President Trump say?

Mr Trump said the federal government remained shut because of the Democrats.

He said of the situation at the border: "This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul."

In response, a leader of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi said: "The fact is the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge. And the fact is President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government."

Donald TrumpGetty Images
President Trump says that there is a humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border
Why has the US government been (partially) shutdown?

The building of a wall across the border between the United States and Mexico was one of President Trump's key promises during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's plans appealed to many voters in the United States who were unhappy about illegal immigration.

During his campaign he suggested that Mexico would pay for the wall.

But it has now become clear that the United States will need to pay if they want the wall built.

President Trump wants $5.6 billion dollars, the equivalent to £4.4 billion, for its construction.

He wants to agree a spending bill that means the wall is paid for by the US government and therefore US taxpayers may be the ones responsible for paying for it.

But members of Congress cannot agree how much funding should be given, or whether funding should be given at all.

Closed for service sign in Washington DCGetty Images
Many federal services have been closed as a result of the shutdown which is now in its third week
What happens when the US government shuts down?

Not all, but many government services such as museums, parks and courts are forced to close during a government shutdown.

This is why it is called partial - because it doesn't include the whole US government.

Services that are not considered crucial to citizens' welfare are closed.

Schools, airports, prisons and libraries will stay open, and as postal services are self-funded, US citizens still get their letters.

Politicians, including President Trump, will also keep working.

However, "non-essential" government services have been forced to close.

Employees of these services have been stopped from working and many have had their pay stopped for the moment.

This shutdown continues until Congress reaches an agreement on funding.

Border wall graphic on US mapGetty Images
President Trump wants funding to build a wall across the Mexican border
Why can't Congress agree on a spending bill?

Now in its 24th day, polls suggest that more people blame President Trump for the shutdown than his opponents, the Democrats.

A poll by news broadcaster CNN showed that 32 percent of people blame the Democrats, while 55 percent blame the President.

Another poll by the news outlet Washington Post and broadcaster ABC News found that 53 percent blamed the President for the shutdown.

The Democrat party is against spending money on the wall.

A leader of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi said that the wall would be "a waste of money". Many feel that building the wall is wrong, and would deny many immigrants working opportunities and safety in the United States.

No temper tantrum is going to get you the wall.

Senator Chuck Schumer , Democrat
A girl holding a doll by the arm walking next to adultGetty Images
Many Democrats feel that building the wall would be unfair to migrants

However, President Trump told congress that he was prepared for the shutdown to continue for 'months or even years'.

He said he is "proud" to shut down the government if funding does not come through for the wall.

Lots of US citizens agree with him, as they believe that too many immigrants come to the United States illegally.

They believe that illegal immigrants should go through official channels to gain citizenship in the US.

But others say that the US immigration policy is too complicated and strict, and that many migrants need help more immediately.

People hold up placards protesting against illegal immigrantsGetty Images
The United States is divided over illegal immigration
What is going to happen?

It is hard to say at this point - as neither President Trump and the Republican party or the Democratic party appear to be backing down.

There is hope that it will end soon so that government workers can be paid, but while there is no sign that either side will give way on this issue, it is hard to say when this might be.


This entry is now closed for comments.

  • View all (4)
  • Comment number 4. Posted by U17345594

    12 Jan 2019 16:53
    He is being mean to their Mexican neighbors. 🙁😟🙁
  • Comment number 3. Posted by U17133673

    12 Jan 2019 15:56
    Loads of people are going to suffer because of this one stubborn person. How is he stubborn? Well, shutting down the government and taking away people's wages because he doesn't get his way is, in my opinion, stubborn before you attack me.
  • Comment number 2. Posted by U17094686

    8 Jan 2019 19:43
    What has he done now.?It's predictable and silly. Loads of people working are going to suffer especially if he's doing it for years.
  • Comment number 1. Posted by Hope

    8 Jan 2019 19:03