Government Shutdown Now at 32nd Day, Impacting Federal Workers

On Saturday, during a White House address, President Trump stated he would grant a temporary three-year protection for Deferred Action For Child Arrivals (DACA) immigrants from deportation, without a pathway to citizenship, in exchange for $5.7 billion to fund a permanent wall on the U.S. – Mexico border. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would put Trump’s proposition into a bill and present it to the floor by the end of the week, despite refusing to allow any funding bills from the House onto the Senate floor. Democratic leaders consider the plan “dead on arrival” because of the temporary and limited protections for DACA recipients. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that “the [Trump’s] proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.”

Last Thursday, the State Department called for employees to report back during the government shutdown and proclaimed they will be paid for a minimum of one pay period. However, the employees will not be paid for work done so far, until appropriations bills are passed. The deputy undersecretary of management, Bill Todd, declared that the department is attempting to make funds available to pay employee salaries.

As the government shutdown continues into its 32nd day, 800,000 federal workers are still without pay ad last week received $0.00 paychecks. The House Democratic leadership has put forth and voted on bills to cease the partial government shut down that Mitch McConnell refuses to bring to a vote in the Senate. Despite the Democrats proposal of granting $1.3 billion towards stricter border security, President Trump refuses to accept anything other than his desired $5.7 billion Democrats are eager to end the shutdown, but are firm in their refusal to sacrifice billions of dollars for Trump’s wall. There seems to be no end in sight for the government shutdown.

Federal workers are now motivated to look for new, or second jobs. However, not all federal workers are able to leave their current positions despite the government shutdown. Employees deemed indispensable are obligated to continue working without pay or risk losing their jobs. However, unlike civilian federal employees, Coast Guard members may face criminal charges for being absent without approved leave. In the early stages of the shut down late last year, the White House gathered money together to payroll federal workers, including Coast Guard members, but no funds remain to do so this year. If funding is not sorted by February, over 50,000 Coast Guard retirees could see their pensions held up. Working without being paid puts the livelihoods of federal employees at stake, whether financial or otherwise, as many federal workers may no longer be able to afford their daily expenses.

Media Resources: NBC News 1/19/19; Politico 1/17/19; The Wall Street Journal 1/16/19; New
York Times 1/14/19; Feminist News 1/9/19

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