The rundown on the shutdown

The effects of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history


Gracia Lantis

National Weather Service meteorologist and substitute teacher Chris Buttler poses for a picture. Buttler says it’s getting harder for his family to make ends meet.

As of January 12, 2019, the federal government has been partially shut down for 22 days making it the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

Approximately 800,000 federal workers are still on furlough — mandatory unpaid time off — and others are working without pay. The hardest hit is Washington D.C. where about 80,000 workers are furloughed, but in Nebraska over 2,000 federal workers are missing paychecks.

Meteorologist Chris Buttler is among these workers. Buttler works for the National Weather Service, and is also a substitute teacher at NPHS. His daughter, senior Karsyn Buttler, said that her father is currently working without pay, and the shutdown has put a strain on their family. “He’s working up to 17 hours a day,” she said. “It’s causing a rift in the lives of my family.”

The shutdown began after the Senate failed to pass a spending bill over President Donald Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion in funds for a border wall. Trump has made it clear that he will not support a deal to reopen the government before wall funding is secured. As the partial shutdown survives another week, no one seems to have answers about how, or when it will end.

Congress recently agreed to provide back pay to federal employees who have been furloughed for the time they have been unpaid. Those who have been working without pay were already guaranteed back pay.

Many agencies within the federal government are operating normally during the shutdown because they were funded through this fiscal year, which ends in September.

With no clear end in sight, the shutdown continues to weigh heavy on local families. “It’s really difficult to just have to sit back and watch, and not be able to do anything about it,” Karsyn Buttler said.