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Government Shutdown Ends

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What did the shutdown mean for Marshall and the state of West Virginia?

When the clock struck 12 a.m. on Saturday, the United States began the first government shut down of Donald Trump’s presidency. This meant no new federal dollars could be spent until lawmakers reached a decision.

The government shut down ended Monday after the Senate voted to reopen the government for three more weeks.

While Marshall University has been facing budget cuts since 2017, the shutdown did not financially affect the university or the federal aid its students receive, according to Sarah Musgrave, interim associate director of Student Financial Assistance at Marshall University.

“During a short-term shut down, there would be no immediate impact on federal student aid programs,” Musgrave said.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators reported that while no new federal dollars can be spent during a shutdown, the federal funding has already been dispersed for student aid in 2017-2018, therefore, students should not have experienced issues with their financial aid awards.

Likewise, Inside Higher Ed reported that the Pell Grant and federal student loan funding is mandatory, as those programs operate regardless of year-to-year budgets.

Katrina Eskins, interim budget director at Marshall University, said the university’s budget was not affected by the government shutdown.

However, some West Virginians were affected; 1,400 National Guard members were sent home at noon Monday due to the shutdown still being in effect, Jeff Jenkins of WV MetroNews reported. These members will return back to work Tuesday due to the shutdown ending.

Since the Senate vote, U.S. Senator Manchin posted on Facebook that he never voted in favor of the shutdown and is glad the government can begin working again on issues that affect Americans and West Virginians.

“Now that the government will reopen, we have the next three weeks to ensure our military is equipped to protect our country, fight the opioid epidemic, keep our promise to coal miners so they don’t lose their hard-earned pensions, expand broadband access and pass a comprehensive infrastructure package,” Manchin posted.

U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito spoke with MetroNews “Talkline” Monday after the shutdown ended. Capito said the Democratic leadership linked immigration to the budget to hold operations hostage.

Ginny Blake can be contacted at [email protected]

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