Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Congress's job is to fund the United States' government. They control the purse strings. But for the past four months, Congress has been in a perpetual shutdown watch over couple basic issues. Immigration, whether to fund long-standing programs, like the children's health insurance program, and how to pay for all these natural disasters we saw in 2017. Basically, Senate Democrats are saying, "We're not giving you votes for the spending bills, until you increase disaster aids for Porto Rico in the US virgin islands." The thing that makes funding a government so difficult for congress is you basically have to do it with bi-partisan votes. So that means whatever party's in power, needs the other party to cooperate. That also means that the other party gets to put its foot down and say, "No, I'm not gonna give you votes unless you give me X, Y, and Z." That puts both parties in really tough positions, right? Republicans can decide to either compromise, or risk getting blamed for a government shutdown happening on their watch. Democrats could get a chance to extract some big policy victories, like on immigration, and government spending. But they also might be seen as obstructionists. So Congress's fallback is to pass a short-term spending bill. And experts say that's probably what will happen if Congress can't come to agreement on these big issues in the next couple weeks. But there's a complicating factor here, and that's President Trump. He has been really really hardline on getting money for his wall. Not a fence, not more border security. a wall on the US Mexico border. That's something Democrat absolutely won't do. So, you know, Congress passes the budget. The president is the one who signs it into law. Never say never with President Trump. It's quite possible he vetos even a short-term spending bill, to try to get Congress to do something on his wall. Passing these short-term spending bills month after month makes it really difficult for the government to function. But things could get a lot worst if Congress can't pass any spending bill and it shuts down. We saw that happen in 2013. And if it shuts down for couple days, basically, anyone who wants to go to a national park, national museums. like all the ones here along the mall in D.C., can't. Those are closed off. But the longer shutdown goes, the more it filters into your and I (my) everyday lives. People who want a passport or visa, may not be able to get one in time. Anything that relies on money from the federal government, is kind of stuck in the mud right now, and has been. The whole thing is just a disaster for the economy, and it also doesn't help US on a global stage, right? Appear like we have our act together, if we can't keep our government open. What usually happens is Congress comes right up to the deadline, and then passes a short-term spending bill, that just funds the government at last year's levels for a couple more month, while they buy themselves more negotiating time. Basically, this is not the way the government was set up to run, kicking the can down the road every couple months.