Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Over 800,000 federal employees are now officially out of work or are working without pay due to Donald Trump shutting down the government after failing to get Democrats to agree to fund his border wall with Mexico.
The partial government shutdown affects 15 percent of the federal government’s total workforce. On the bright side, most agencies and departments including the Department of Defense and the Postal Service have secured funding.
But that’s little consolation to the more than 800,000 employees from the Departments of Homeland Security; Transportation affected by Trump’s shutdown that is now expected to last until well after Christmas and might extend into the New Year.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has called senators to return to work on Dec. 27 in the hope of achieving a compromise solution that might end the shutsown, which is the third in Trump’s 23 months as president.
The American Federation of Government Employees said 420,000 federal employees deemed essential must work without pay. Another 380,000 others will not be able to report for work at all.
The administration said employees working without pay will receive back pay once a deal to end the shutdown is reached. In previous shutdowns, affected federal employees were eventually paid.
Furloughed employees include 52,000 from the Internal Revenue Service; 41,000 from the Commerce Department; 28,800 from the Forest Service and 16,700 from NASA
Employees working without pay include 41,000 law-enforcement and correctional officers; 53,000 TSA employees and 54,000 Customs and Border Protection staff.
The Senate did pass a bill to keep operations going for a few weeks. This bill, however, doesn’t include the $5 billion funding for Trump’s border wall. Trump met with Senate Republicans on Friday, just hours before parts of the government are scheduled to shut down. The shutdown is now in effect.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget declared that employees “furloughed on a holiday (e.g. December 25) will not be paid for the holiday unless authorized by subsequent legislation.”
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