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Government Shutdown Looming

For the first time in the 245 year history of America, the Speaker of the House of Representatives was forced to step down. This event initially started on September 30th when the then speaker of the House, Republican KevinMccarthy, signed a funding bill with House Democrats, in order to keep our government from shutting down. A government Shutdown occurs when congress fails to sign funding bills that allow federal branches of Government to spend money.  The last Government shutdown lasted 35 days, and it began Sat, Dec 22, 2018 and ended on  Fri, Jan 25, 2019. This was invoked by former President Trump’s demand for funding for his border wall, which would separate America from Mexico. The Government reopened without adhering to these demands.

This year, a government shutdown is looming due to House Republicans and Democrats having opposing views over US Government funding towards Ukraine. Republicans believe that America is lending too much funding to Ukraine, and instead should limit  that funding and instead focus that funding on Israel. Democrats on the other hand, believe that our Government should keep funding Ukraine as well as increase federal funding to Israel. For reference, America currently provides 14.3 Billion Dollars in Aid to Israel. As long as the Government shutdown is a possibility, Israel won’t receive any of this aid. According to the US Department of State, the US and Israel have an annual bilateral trade of nearly $50 billion in goods and services, making Israel one of our strongest economic allies. Israel was also recently attacked by the terrorist group Hamas. On October 7th, 2023 Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and murdered 1,400 innocent Israeli citizens. Mother, sons, daughter, fathers, brothers were all ruthlessly gunned down in this attack. Israel is currently launching a counterattack into Gaza, where the Hamas terrorist organization is located.

A possible government shutdown would end all Government aid to Israel, one of our biggest economic allies, immediately after they suffered the worst hate crime in their nation’s history. 

However, this is just one of the many effects if the government does shut down.

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Depending on how long the Government shutdown lasts, there will be varying degrees throughout our country and the community. 

Another effect is that during a government shutdown, national parks and most museums will close. Flights may be delayed, as well as public construction work will be halted. You may also even see an influx of substitute teachers as faculty members call in sick. 

Government shutdowns can also disproportionately affect low-income families, particularly those who depend on government assistance. Programs supporting impoverished families may experience disruptions or delays which leaves many families scrambling to find income to support themselves. Specifically food assistance programs like WIC and SNAP may be at risk without the necessary funding to continue operation.

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SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), also referred to as food stamps, is a food assistance program that provides money to low income citizens in the United States. Although the number of people who are on food stamps varies from year to year, it is estimated to be around 38 to 42 million people or about 12% of the population in America.

Local community health care centers that provide primary healthcare services to underprivileged populations, supported by federal funding, may face financial challenges or disruptions in services as well.

A major effect to students at Olathe North is that the processing of student financial aid applications, specifically applicants involving federal programs like Pell Grants and federal student loans, may be delayed impacting student access to financial assistance.  

Furthermore, Early childhood education programs like Head Start, which receive government funding may be devastatingly affected by the government shutdown. Head start is a program that provides free early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and families. It also serves to assist pregnant women and low income families that have children.  

Since its construction, Head Start has assisted more than 37 million children, from ages 5 and under. The government shutdown would cease federal funding for this program. If that were to happen, the White House estimates that around 10,000 children would lose access to Head Start grants that could not be awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services. This would force families to find other means of education, and find other forms of care for their children. This could affect their work which would plunge them into further poverty. 

Although the government shutdown may be taxing for many families, the damage can be lessened with effective preparation. In the case of a government shutdown it is crucial to have a developed emergency fund to cover essential expenses. 

You can also prepare by ensuring that you have an adequate supply of prescription medications, and be sure to stay informed about potential disruptions to healthcare services in your area. 

If you are a federal employee, it is important to understand your agency’s contingency plans, and you may want to consider diversifying your income sources. You can also attempt to connect with local community resources, such as food banks or assistance programs, in case you need support during the showdown. 

Most importantly, stay informed and continually check for updates about current events so you know to expect in the coming months. 

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About the Contributors
Lillian O'Berg
Lillian O'Berg, Staff Writer
Lily is a Sophomore and this is her first year on The Chronicle Staff. Lily's favorite part of Newspaper is meeting new people and giving them a voice. She is a member of Eagle Service, Poetry Club, Distinguished Scholars Language Arts, and the Olathe North tennis team. Lily’s favorite thing to do in her free time is listen to music, work on her car, and spend time with her friends.
Nate Gunderson
Nate Gunderson, Staff Writer
Nate is a senior and this is his second year on The Chronicle staff.  He loves the newspaper, as he loves to report and express himself, and the newspaper gives him the freedom to do this. His favorite article he’s written is his “Did he do it”, a steroid article about Fernando Tatis, Jr.

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