OPINION: Who’s to Blame for the Government Shutdown

By Nick Baum

THURSDAY – 1/10/19

The partial government shutdown has now reached 19 days with very little sign of an end in sight. But as the days with empty department headquarters drags, so does the number of fingers pointing in different directions. What many individuals and the media fail to realize, though, is that both sides are to blame.

Both Senate Republicans and Democrats acted hastily with one another when voting on a temporary government funding bill, mostly in part due to the $5 billion border wall that was a key part of Trump’s campaign promises. The wall is fine, in fact, it is one of the most efficient ways of stopping illegal immigrants. Even if half of all border crossings were stopped, we would save $64 billion in welfare.

Honestly, it’s on the Democrats if they don’t want to vote for the border wall. The fact that they would rather allow a government shutdown than protecting our borders and our citizens really makes you question the motives of their party. However, we shouldn’t act like President Trump and the Senate Republicans are innocent, either.

Donald Trump had stated multiple times that he was, “proud to shut the government down” and said that he could “keep the government closed for months or even years.” Not only that, but he has been met with conservative praise to shutting down the government, calling it a “win”. In fact, a bill sponsored by Senate Democrats to fund the IRS and tax filing agencies was blocked by Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

While the reason for the bill being blocked could’ve been due to the conservative side’s dislike of high taxes, especially when a portion of the government isn’t operating, it is no question that both sides have responsibility on this pressing issue, that must be resolved soon enough.

Sources and Pictures: Wikimedia Commons, CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, Fox News

Trump Makes First Oval Office Speech on Border Wall Crisis

By Nick Baum

WEDNESDAY – 1/9/19

President Donald Trump made his first televised speech from the oval office last night to speak about the controversy surrounding the $5 billion border wall, and the partial government shutdown about it that has reached 17 days. Senate Republicans and Democrats failed to compromise on the border wall, in return shutting down a part of the government for the third longest time on record.

During the speech, Trump pulled different statistics and evidence supporting his case regarding the border wall crisis. Just after the oval office speech, Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer made a speech regarding his televised broadcast, as well as reconfirming their own stances on the crisis.

In the broadcast, Trump described the situation as “a humanitarian crisis” and stated that more Americans have died from illegal drugs than the Vietnam War. In return, Democratic leaders Pelosi and Schumer stated that Trump is unwilling to cooperate on bipartisan bills. So far, the partial government shutdown doesn’t have an end in sight, and it’s still up to debate over who started it.

Sources and Pictures: Flickr, CNN, CNN Politics, Fox News

Clemson Win National Championship

By Nick Baum

TUESDAY – 1/8/19

The 2 seeded Clemson breezed past the defending champions and number 1 seeded Alabama 44-16 last night. Alabama was shut out in the second half of play, scoring no points while Clemson scored 13 to build off of their 31-16 at halftime.

This is the third championship won by Clemson, and the second under head coach Dabo Swinney. However, Alabama has won 17 national championships and were also favorites going into Monday night, making the upset all the more remarkable.

Both teams had also had perfect records going into the game, with Clemson’s win solidifying a 15-0 season. Clemson also demolished their opponent in the semifinals, beating Notre Dame 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl.

Sources and Pictures: ESPN, Flickr, Google, Wikipedia

EXCLUSIVE: Shutdown Continues for Over Two Weeks

By Nick Baum

MONDAY – 1/7/19

The government shutdown between Senate Republicans and Democrats over a $5 billion border wall has lasted for 16 days now, which is the third longest on record. The shutdown started on December 21, and requires 60 senators to accept it in order for the funding bill to go into effect.

Days before the shutdown, President Trump met with Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer over potential funding options for the government. As of right now, it is only a partial government shutdown, with some national parks and federal departments closing. Of these departments include the Department of Transportation, which controls the pay of TSA workers in airports, who are currently working without pay.

President Trump traveled to Camp David in Maryland to meet with officials over government funding again. Vice President Mike Pence has also met with leaders from both parties over options. Trump has considered declaring it a “national emergency”, where funding can be diverted from the military to the border wall without government funding.

Sources and Pictures: CNN, CBS, Wikimedia Commons

House of Representatives Passes Border Wall Funding Bill

By Nick Baum

FRIDAY – 12/21/18

Last night, the House of Representatives voted 217 to 185 to pass a government funding bill that would allocate $5.7 billion to the border wall between Mexico and the United States. The somewhat large Republican majority was able to pass it with ease, but as the bill goes to the Senate, where a Republican majority is just 51 – 49, every vote will count.

Not only does the bill need a majority though, but it would also need to pass by 60 votes in the Senate, meaning that it is much likelier that there will be a partial government shutdown than a border wall funding bill, as President Trump said he won’t enact any Senate funding bills that don’t pay for the border wall.

However, if the bill does not pass there will only be a partial government shutdown, where only 9 of the 15 cabinet departments close down, and only some areas of government stop working. If there is a shutdown, then it will happen by midnight of today.

Sources and Pictures: Wikimedia Commons, Fox News, CNN

Trump Withdraws Troops from Syria

By Nick Baum

THURSDAY – 12/20/18

Just yesterday, President Donald Trump announced in a speech that he will be withdrawing all 2,000 US soldiers from Syria. Later on Twitter, he declared US victory of the Islamic State, and that troops should be home for Christmas and the holidays.

The decision to withdraw troops has gained more criticism than approval from Capitol Hill, but has still seen mixed reactions across the aisle. Republican Senator and Trump ally Lindsay Graham blasted the decision, calling it “A stain on the honor of the United States.”

Other Republican lawmakers, as well as liberal journalist Jake Tapper, disapproved of the action, but Democrat congresswoman Barbara Lee agreed after campaigning for a troop withdrawal from Syria for a while. Overall though, we have yet to see the effects of this decision.

Sources and Pictures: US Military News, CNN Politics, CNN, Fox News

2018 NFL Pro Bowl Rosters are Set

By Nick Baum

WEDNESDAY – 12/19/18

After the long and open process of voting, the rosters for 2018’s NFL Pro Bowl, the all-star game of the best players in the NFL, has been announced. This year it will be held in Orlando, where there will undoubtedly be another great display between the best of the league.

Potential MVPs Pat Mahomes at quarterback and Todd Gurley at running back, as well as veteran players such as Deandre Hopkins and Travis Kelce have once again made another appearance.

On defense, former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller has been selected once again, and Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt has made another appearance on defense. In the Pro Bowl, one half, the NFC, plays the other half, the AFC, resulting in a big clash of rivals.

Sources and Pictures: Flickr, NFL.com, SB Nation