2020

Latest efforts to end shutdown fail as federal workers face a full month without pay

trumpshut

By: Nate Morris, senior editor

WASHINGTON, DC – An unprecedented scenario continues to unfold in Washington as the government shutdown is poised to enter day 35 with no end in sight.

On Thursday, the Republican controlled Senate voted on two pieces of legislation aimed at ending the longest shutdown in US History for the first time since it began in December.

Both bills – one which provided the $5.7 Billion in funding for the wall requested by the president and one (a continuing resolution) which funded the government for three weeks to allow to further debate on border control – failed to advance.

Six Republicans broke with their party to vote with Democrats and move the continuing resolution forward, but it wasn’t enough to move it over the 60 vote threshold.

Now the president’s State of the Union address, originally scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, has been postponed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi until after the government is reopened.

With a nation in turmoil, 800,000 Americans left in financial limbo and a government operating in an increasingly fractured fashion, pressure to find a resolution is mounting.

On Wednesday, news broke that President Trump and his aides were seeking information about the effects of a government shutdown lasting into March or April.

Tomorrow, Friday, will be the second paycheck that federal workers will be forced to miss – marking an entire month without pay.  Most federal worker make between $35,000 and $50,000 each year and have little more than one paycheck in savings to fall back on.

Aid organizations around the country have opened up to federal workers who are struggling to pay their bills as they are kept home or, in the case of TSA officers, are made to work without pay.

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz called the continued shutdown “unacceptable” as members of the Coast Guard have begun accessing food pantries to feed their families.

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Volunteers hand out food to federal workers in Alexandria, VA (NYT)

Congress passed and Trump signed a bill ensuring backpay for all employees of the U.S. Government affected by the shutdown after it ends, but that end date is unclear. Federal contractors however, including many cafeteria and custodial staff in federal buildings, were not included in that legislation and are unlikely to receive any backpay as they make hourly wages.

The effects of the shutdown are beginning to leave their scares on the nation as a whole, with growth slowing significantly and faith in the economy eroding rapidly.

According to one estimate using numbers produced from the Office of Management and Budget during the 16 day government shutdown in 2013, Trump’s record setting shutdown is costing American taxpayers a minimum of $573 million each workday in lost wages, income and productivity.

According to these numbers, the current shutdown has already dealt a nearly $13 billion blow to the U.S. economy.  As the president refuses to budge from his demand for all funding or accept bi-partisan compromises, there’s still no end in sight.

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