Furloughed federal workers are waking up on Christmas morning wondering when they will see their next paychecks and how they will feed their families -- and they are blaming it all on Donald Trump.
According to a report in the Washington Post the over 800,000 federal employees, who were sent home when Trump refused a budget deal that would keep the government running, are furious that their livelihoods depends upon Trump getting a wall that Democrats say they will never fund.
Jaime Contreras, vice president of a 163,000-member chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said his members fear how long the wall debate will continue.
"It’s an issue that everyone is going to dig their heels in,” Contreras said. “The wall is irrational and impractical, and Democrats are not going to back down so we’re stuck in this situation and the people who are suffering are people working in these facilities living paycheck to paycheck.”
Lila Johnson, 71, who cleans bathrooms at the Agriculture Department, says she depends on her job to supplement her meager social security checks.
“It’s just putting me in a bind. I am going to have to juggle my bills around. My part-time job at the Agriculture Department helps me make ends meet,” she explained, adding she helps out with her great-grandchildren. "It’s not easy putting food on the table for kids and buying them clothes and shoes. That’s why I am still working.”
Johnson had harsh words for Trump.
“Trump is throwing a temper tantrum for a wall,” she said. “What’s the wall going to do? He just wants to say, ‘I delivered my promise.’ But he’s messing with people’s lives.”
Raekwon Snyder, 23, a contractor with the Food and Drug Administration, already has a part-time job tending bar to make ends meet.
He said that he may have to go back to driving for Lyft or Uber.
“I don’t like it, it’s not fun, especially when you’re sitting at work talking to your co-workers, saying, ‘I don’t know when I’ll see you guys again,’ ” he said. “It’s funny in the moment, but when you leave, it’s kind of sad. You just hope your co-workers are okay, as well.”
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