Federal workers sent home because President Donald Trump allowed the government to shut down over his demand for a multi-billion dollar border wall are both angry and dismayed as they face their families before the holidays unsure when they will be paid again, reports the Washington Post.
With the shutdown beginning at midnight on Friday, and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney telling agencies to shutter, many workers who live paycheck-to-paycheck are wondering how long they will be out and how they will pay their bills and get by.
"With the pay period ending Dec. 22, federal workers will receive their next paycheck, but it will be up to Congress and the president about how to compensate people for the pay period starting next week if the shutdown lasts that long," the Post reports. "All told, about 800,000 of 2.1 million federal workers nationwide — or more than a third — would be affected in some way. Nearly half would be sent home without pay."
This creates a hardship for longtime employees like 71-year-old Lila Johnson, who has swept floors and scrubbed bathrooms in the State Department for two decades.
Worried about how she will pay her rent and make her car and life insurance payment, Johnson cut right to the chase: “It’s Christmastime, people need their money.”
According to Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the Congressional Budget Office and the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush, he thinks Trump enjoys the shutdown.
“It seems to me that the president has wanted to close the government since he took office,” he said. "It’s clear he sees this as a political winner. Traditionally that’s not true.”
Some federal workers are resigned to the shutdown, saying they live under the cloud of being sent home and waiting for paychecks continually under a bitterly divided House and Senate.
“This is something we do every year, plan for a shutdown,” said Dan Wenk, who retired as Yellowstone National Park superintendent at the end of September. “It’s standard operating procedure. Isn’t that sad?”
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