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

Prince Williams/Filmmagic

Casanova Surrenders To FBI In Federal Racketeering Case

Casanova turned himself in to the FBI on Wednesday (Dec. 2). The rapper, born Caswell Senior, is charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Prior to surrendering to authorities, Casanova recorded a video message professing his innocence. “As you already know, I’m fighting serious charges right now but I’m innocent, that’s one. Two, I’ve been fighting my whole life so I can do this.”

He was the last to be arrested out of 18 defendants accused in a massive gang bust. The 34-year-old recording artist suggested that his legal predicament was the result of being a rapper. “We are a target. Be careful out there. Watch who you associate with. Watch who people bring y’all around. I’ll see y’all soon, God willing.”

Casanova breaks his silence and says he’s innocent pic.twitter.com/lHYNpwZNTn

— XXL Magazine (@XXL) December 3, 2020

According to the federal indictment, the alleged members of the Untouchable Gorilla Nation gang are charged with several crimes including racketeering, murder, and narcotics offenses.

On Tuesday, the FBI's New York office announced that Casanova was wanted by the feds. Attorney, James Kousouros, denied that Casanova was attempting to evade authorities.

“From the moment I was contacted, my client's clear intention was to surrender himself, he never intended to evade the judicial process,” Kousouros said. “Over the last 48 hours I was in contact with the government arranging a peaceful surrender. He just wanted a peaceful surrender. Mr. Senior is fully confident that he'll be exonerated when all the facts are brought forth.”

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Barack Obama Says He Doesn't Like The Term “Defund The Police”

Barack Obama's advice about the using the term “defund the police” is receiving mixed reviews. The former commander in chief explained his issue with the “slogan” in an interview on the Snapchat show Good Luck America.

Obama cautioned against using the term as he feels it to be exclusionary. “If you want people to buy your sneakers you’re going to market it to your audience. It’s no difference in terms of ideas,” he explained. “If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it's not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like ‘defund the police.’ But you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done.”

He also suggested that instead of “defund the police” people should say: “Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s treated fairly.”

The 59-year-old politician seemingly theorized that the use of “defund the police” may have cost Democrats House seats in the recent election. “The key is deciding do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with? If you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, than you got to be able to meet people where they are and play a game of addition and not subtraction.”

Read some of the reactions to his comments below.

With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.

It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020

Imagine if Obama came out and gave a quick speech about how Defund the Police means reallocating resources to organizations that can help, instead of using cops to deal with things like mental health situations.

Says a lot about the man that he instead criticizes slogans.

— Dave Anthony PHD, MD, Esquire. (@daveanthony) December 2, 2020

obama doesn't like "defund the police" as a slogan because it is a specific actionable thing with a clear goal in mind. hope, change, yes we can & all that are better because they don't require you to actually do anything after saying them

— Shaun (@shaun_vids) December 2, 2020

What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020

The phrase 'defund the police' is awkward and misleading. It doesn't accurately convey the need to reallocate funding so that social services and policing are properly weighted.

The phrase mangles the meaning in a way that guarantees that many won't ever even hear it.

— Floss Obama🎅🏾 (@FlossObama) December 3, 2020

Obama is right. Defund the Police is a bad slogan. Reform the Police is better.

— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) December 2, 2020

obama is right. y’all need to stop saying defund the police when we mean abolish the police

— anti-lawn aktion (@antihoa) December 2, 2020

No one can push neoliberal thought like Obama. Suddenly, EVERYONE has decided that "defund the police" is just a slogan, and that it is responsible for Dems losing even tho none of them supported it.

The aim is to undermine activists just like he did w/ the potential NBA strike.

— Honeyves (@AdamantxYves) December 2, 2020

I need Barack Obama to leave the sloganeering to the movement.

Defund. The. Police.

We are keeping it. We are demanding it.

— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) December 2, 2020

We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020

Continue Reading
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Juice Wrld’s Mom Shares Touching Tribute In Honor Of His Birthday

Juice Wrld would have turned 22 on Wednesday (Dec. 2). In honor of his birthday, the late rapper’s mother, Camille Wallace, shared a touching message posted to his social media accounts.

“Jarad and I both loved celebrating our birthdays — mine is just two weeks before his. On our special days we used to wish one another Happy Birthday dozens and dozens of times throughout the day. Now I like to think of all the ‘Happy Birthday’ we saved for the future.”

The statement adds, “He will forever be the light of my life. Today, we celebrate him, his immense talent and creativity and his contribution to this world. Through his art, he spoke his truth.”

Happy Birthday, Jarad. We miss you. #lljw🕊 pic.twitter.com/TCoNQRLvuq

— . (@JuiceWorlddd) December 2, 2020

The “Lucid Dreams” rhymer, whose birth name Jarad Anthony Higgins, died from an accidental drug overdose last year. He passed away six days after his 21st birthday.

Continue Reading

Top Stories