Tennessee Tech’s political leaders weigh in on government shutdown

Tech’s student political leaders’ opinions about the record-setting government shutdown reflect their national counterparts’ views on the matter in a stalemate that showed some hope of breaking last week.

Federal buildings, parks and offices closed and employees sent home after President Donald Trump and lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on the nation’s budget. 

Trump wants $5.7 billion to build a wall along the country’s southern border while opponents – mostly Democrats – decline to appropriate the funds.

The shutdown lasted 35 days – the longest in U.S. history – until Trump announced Friday an agreement to return employees to work while both sides attempt to reach an agreement.

In the past month, 800,000 federal workers went without income including those working for the FBI, airport security and museum workers. Unemployed workers turned to food pantries and took advantage of deferred payment plans in order to make ends meet, according to national news sources.

Senior Elizabeth Webb president of TTU Republicans and junior Mik Davis president of TTU Democrats, said in interviews last week, students may not realize the effect the shutdown may have on them.

“Politics touches everyone, even if you don’t realize it and it is important to get people involved. Students can be financially affected by this shutdown,” Davis said. 

At the end of February, various financial support including food stamps and tax returns may be delayed or unavailable due to the on-going standstill. 

About 4.8 million college students in the U.S. use food stamps, according to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program reports.

“Some students could be negatively affected due to the IRS not providing tax returns to students that rely on them for tuition payments,” Webb said.

Webb and Davis shared what they believe this shutdown could do to America’s reputation.

“The government is ridiculous, and the only way Trump can regain trust is by promising to never have another government shutdown,” Davis said.

Webb disagrees. 

“The only way Trump will gain trust is by going through with this border security,” Webb said.

Both sides agreed that this shutdown can potentially be remembered in 50 years. 

“Everyone will be blamed for the shut down, and democracy will be negatively affected,” Davis said. 

“There will be no specific party to blame in 50 years, there will be no clear divide,” Webb.