Why did the government shut down?

We’ve entered the third day of the Trump administration’s first federal government shutdown. And since the first two days happened over the weekend, you could be forgiven for being a bit behind on exactly what’s happening. So as the standoff between Democrats and Republicans continues, here’s a primer to what, exactly, is going on and why it matters.

1) Why did the government shut down over the weekend?

The most basic reason is that the government gets funded by laws that have to go through Congress — and this time, Congress failed to pass a new government funding law before the old one expired. Hence, the shutdown.

The more fundamental reason, though, is that a long-simmering dispute between Democrats and Republicans over immigration has finally boiled over.

Democrats are trying to take a stand and force Republican leaders to make a deal giving deportation protections to hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the US as children. These are the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) program recipients, commonly referred to as DREAMers.

The Trump administration decided to end this program, which would leave these young immigrants, many of whom grew up thinking of themselves as Americans, without legal protections. (Though the administration originally said it would sunset the program on March 5, a recent court ruling has led them to partially restart it for now.)

Until they see some progress on a DACA deal, most Democrats have decided to withhold their support from government funding bills. Since these bills need a 60-vote supermajority, and therefore at least 9 Democratic votes, to pass the Senate, this caused the government shutdown.

2) What is a government shutdown, exactly?

While a government shutdown is indeed a major event, it’s not quite as dramatic as it sounds Read More Here