President Trump Remains At The White House As Government Shutdown Begins
Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

The Government Shutdown And What You Should Know About It

The partial standstill mainly centers around the topic of immigration.

Shortly before 2019 began, Donald Trump shuttered the U.S. federal government (Dec. 22) as a tactic to receive funding for building a border wall along Mexico and the States. The request was made within a proposal by the GOP which also called for "other border protection measures," CNN reports.

Although Republicans and Democrats are working on a resolution to revamp border security protocol and revisit the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the latter remains opposed to granting Trump's $5 billion request. He's also thinking about declaring a national emergency to receive monetary assistance. The contention in Congress has led the federal sector to close its operations until a resolution can be made.

Here, we break down what you should know about the shutdown and how it may affect you.

---

Concern Grows Over Food Stamp Distribution

According to Politico, over 38 million people receiving government assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be affected by the shutdown if Congress is unable to reach a resolution.

How This Affects You:
Officials within the Department of Agriculture note its funds can sustain those enrolled within the program for the remainder of January, but it's not guaranteed that it'll be able to maintain past this month. If you're one of the 38.6 million Americans dependent on SNAP, you could be greatly affected if mid-February proves to be more of the same. CNN reports new people looking to apply for SNAP might not be able to do so since reserve funds must benefit those already on the program. This might affect food services within schools, The New York Times reports, which will still last into February. On the upside, there's a possibility that "reserve funds" can help keep the food stamps program temporarily running in case the shutdown extends into next month. There's currently $3 billion in reserve funds.

 

The Shutdown Was Followed By The Freeze Of An Increased Federal Budget

Trump signed an executive order earlier this month that placed a halt on a 2.1 percent increase to the federal budget. When Trump first announced his plan in August 2018, he said the country's federal fabric wouldn't be able to support this swell. "We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases," he said. As a solution to hopefully alleviate bills, outlets like FedChoice Federal Credit Union have offered public workers methods to balance their accounts without missing a payment.

 

Agencies Including The I.R.S., Homeland Security, T.S.A., N.A.S.A., And More Are Also Affected

Nearly 800,000 federal workers have been impacted by the shutdown, meaning a select number of employees are not receiving pay or working for free, as is the case for F.B.I. and D.E.A. workers. NBC News reports that 380,000 people will be "furloughed" without receiving pay, while 420,000 are legally mandated to continue working despite not being paid. For the I.R.S., there's a likelihood that income tax refund checks will not be distributed in a timely manner. However, the Social Security Administration will still manage to mail its recipients' checks via the U.S. Postal Service which remains open.

How This Affects You:
As taxpayers await the I.R.S.' plan for making tax season as non-disruptive as possible, reports still encourage Americans to prepare their taxes as business as usual. The company, which is currently being run by 12 percent of its staff, will still issue refunds, Bloomberg reports. Additionally, CNBC notes that services like TurboTax will still "securely store" users' completed forms until the I.R.S. returns to normal operation.

On the subject of travel, passports will still be processed, but visas that are issued abroad for people looking to enter the States will be delayed. You can still travel as freely as you'd like with the proper documentation, but there's a possibility that due to a number of of T.S.A. workers calling out from work, your wait time on security lines might be extended. January 11 will also mark the first week that T.S.A. agents will miss a paycheck if the shutdown persists.

TSA Council's head of American Federation of Government Employees, Hydrick Thomas, warned that TSA employees that are quitting or working without pay can prove to have dire consequences. “The loss of officers, while we're already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don't have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires," Thomas said per The Daily Beast. "Our TSOs already do an amazing job without the proper staffing levels, but if this keeps up there are problems that will arise—least of which would be increased wait times for travelers.”

 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Will Not Process Loans At This Moment

If you planned on stepping into the world of sole-proprietorship by opening up a business in the near future, you might have to halt your plans if you need a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Unfortunately, this news arrives after the SBA exceeded 50 percent in approval of loans since November 2018, Forbes reports. It's also noted by the site that the shutdown might affect current small business owners that rely on tax refunds to settle debts. Some of these owners, specifically those located in Washington, D.C., might feel the brunt of the shutdown since its income is partly based on federal workers' consumerism, and those workers are at home saving up what they previously earned.

How This Affects You:
As highlighted by The Washington Post, even I.R.S. workers based in rural areas of Utah have felt the brunt of the shutdown. Not just in Utah, but other areas of the U.S.' federal workers live on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis. Towns across the country that thrive off of a small business economy might also experience less foot traffic since federal workers are keeping their wallets closed.

Trump Might Find Another Way To Fund The Wall By Declaring A National Emergency

Despite Congress' deliberation, Trump believes that enacting a national emergency will grant him funding for building the wall. "We're looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency — just read the papers," Trump said. According to CNN, he mentioned the shutdown could come to a halt as soon as "tomorrow" but if the Democrats don't agree with his proposal, "it could also go on for a long time." Trump is expected to visit the border on Thursday (Jan. 10).

There's A Plan Of Action To Cease The Government's Closure

Republican senators are slowly bending to a compromise to end the shutdown without agreed-upon funding for the wall. The Hill also reports that House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) publicized four bills that'll assist in opening certain sectors of the federal government. The bills seek to get workers back into action within the Food and Drug Administration, Housing and Urban Development, Financial Services, and the Department of the Interior.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Don Cheadle as Mo in 'Black Monday,' Episode 4 ("295")
Erin Simkin/SHOWTIME

'Black Monday' Recap: Mo Feels The Weight Of Playing God

Another week, another dive into Black Monday. In this week's episode, “295,” Mo tries to salvage his plan to get the Georgina company’s shares after Blair and Tiffany Georgina’s surprise breakup in the previous episode threw a wrench in that plan. By the end of this week’s episode, Mo gets what he wants but it doesn’t go as planned. Don Cheadle told VIBE that Black Monday was “insane...in a good way,” and this episode shows just that, starting with Mo’s God complex.

Stop Trying To Be God

You need a certain cocktail of self-aggrandization and delusions of grandeur to walk around with a God complex. Mo has that cocktail coursing through his veins. The entire episode revolves around Mo’s attempt to control the actions of humans by placing them in certain situations he is sure will yield his desired results. Only someone blinded by their obsession with being right wouldn’t see having to fix a “foolproof” plan makes him a fool.

The writing expertly showed that when you play God your creation is your reflection, especially in the tense scene at Mo’s dining room table with Blair and Dawn. He turned Blair into a cocaine-addicted party animal to show him how empty life is without having someone you love. Then, in one scene, Dawn exposed how all Mo did was build Blair in his image without realizing that part of his plan was to inadvertently show Blair just how miserable Mo really lives.

Even ostensibly innocuous details carry a huge emotional weight thanks to Black Monday’s writing and Cheadle’s consistently engaging performance. The writers literally had Mo on the outside looking in at forces out of his control at the end of the episode when he’s looking into the bar. It’s at this climactic moment of the show that Mo realizes his own mortality by getting what he wants but missing out on what he knows he needs.

It’s also at this moment that the show’s most boring lead character grew into someone worth watching.

Blair Is Here

For the first three episodes, Blair was as interesting as paint on the wall; always in front of your face but in the back of your mind. Before a single character utters a word in this episode, Blair is chain-smoking cigarettes, snorting coke and dressed like a Saturday Night Fever extra. He died “for a song and a half” and was electroshocked back to life, all in the first minute of the new episode. Blair has finally joined the Black Monday party and the show is better for it.

Mo molding Blair into his image allowed Blair to tap into a new level of confidence.  Blair’s exchange with Dawn about the implicit racism and sexism in 1980s films like Teen Wolf was rewind-worthy hilarious and ends with Blair remarking, “My favorite line from the movie is, ‘I’m not a f*g, I’m a werewolf. Oh, Michael J,” easily one of the funniest 1980s critiques on a show full of them.

The episode also entangled Blair in the show’s first love triangle, ensuring that Blair’s character growth is probably not done. With Blair now being compelling, following Dawn and Keith’s character-defining performances in the previous episode, Black Monday has set up its four most accomplished actors to be able to carry entire story arcs without relying on each other. But, the Black Monday world got bigger than those four in this week’s episode.

The Wall Street Mythology

There’s not enough time in a 30-minute episode to flesh out every character’s backstory and fully formed personality. The most surprisingly funny part of episode “295” was the story arc of Jammer Group traders Keith and Yassir (Yassir Lester) trying to stop Wayne (Horatio Sanz) from completing a “The LaGuardia Spread”. The arc showed that Black Monday has an ingenious way of speeding up character development: mythologize Wall Street.

On Black Monday, “The LaGuardia Spread” is when a trader takes a huge position on a stock, goes to LaGuardia Airport and waits to see if they made a huge profit or debilitating loss. If you guess right, you come home. If you guess wrong, “you don’t come home ever. You get on a plane and you f**king disappear,” according to a frantic Keith. Wayne was nothing more than a bumbling joke punchline of a trader before this episode. In only a few minutes of screentime we find out Wayne slept with his wife’s sister, has some weird dislike for The Howard Stern Show’s weekly guest Jackie Martling, and is so money hungry that he’d be giddy at the news of a mad cows disease epidemic and it’s positive effect on his “LaGuardia Spread” trade.

A similar result happened before on Black Monday. In the series premiere, the Lehman twins (Ken Marino) laid out the Georgina Play, the foundation of Mo’s plans to get all the shares from the Georgina company from Blair after he marries Tiffany. That Wall Street myth led to their grandfather setting himself on fire. That myth also showed that at any moment any person you see on screen become valuable because of what they about know how this fictionalized world works. As long as Black Monday continues to use the inherent absurdity of Wall Street as a machine for character development, this show could begin entering the conversation for one of the best ensemble casts on television.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Cardi B Says Jussie Smollett May Have "F**ked Up Black History Month"

Many people are split on the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett. The Empire actor claims he was attacked by two MAGA supporters in late-January, who doused him in an unidentified liquid while shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.

Cardi B, who is often vocal about issues in society on her social media platforms, spoke out against the reports that Smollett potentially orchestrated the attack.

"I'm really disappointed in him," she said in an Instagram Live video. "I feel like he f**ked up Black History Month, bro. Like, damn. I'm not gonna say, yet. Until he say it out his mouth that it was fake and the sh*t was staged, I don't want to completely blame him, because somebody I was talking to they said police in Chicago are racists..."

She continues by stating that there's a possibility that the police may be trying to frame the actor, who maintains his innocence amidst damning reports. However, she said that it's "f**ked up" if he is indeed lying to the public.

"Then you gave Donald Trump immunity to f**kin' laugh at n***as and sh*t. Make mothaf**kas look bad," she concluded.

Watch her comments.

Cardi B gave her opinion on the Jussie Smollett case on Instagram live. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/6AYU7cT5nL

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 18, 2019

Cardi B gave her opinion on the Jussie Smollett case on Instagram live. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/c9CdhEB3sN

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 18, 2019

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Reports Emerge Claiming Jussie Smollett "Rehearsed" Alleged Attack

TMZ reports that Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who claimed in late-January that he was attacked by MAGA supporters, reportedly rehearsed the alleged assault with the two men involved. According to prosecutors, his alleged racial and homophobic attack will be headed to a grand jury next week.

Per the site, "Abel and Ola Osundairo told cops they got in a car with Jussie and scouted a location, settling on the one right outside the actor's apartment. The brothers said Jussie chose the spot because he believed a camera would have captured the action."

The sources close the the situation said that Jussie reportedly wanted to make the attack a "physical thing," but did not want to be seriously injured. While Jussie left the scene with just a scratch, the brothers- who are Nigerian, and not white- did not know they left a mark on him, as that's not what they had rehearsed.

"On the night Jussie says he was attacked, the brothers claim they showed up at the scene but were extremely nervous because, just as they played out the scene, a car drove by and they were worried they'd be ID'd," the site continues.

Smollett released a statement through representatives vehemently denying the allegations that he orchestrated the attack, maintaining his original story.

 

Continue Reading

Top Stories